The Jammu High Court Bar Association (JHCBA) on Monday resumed work after staying away from courts for 12 days in support of their various demands including handing over the Kathua rape and murder case to CBI and deportation of illegally settled Rohingyas. The decision to resume work was taken at a general house meeting of the JHCBA held under the chairmanship of its president B S Slathia here.
“The general house decided to temporarily suspend the agitation, responding to the appeal of Bar Council of India (BCI), and the Supreme Court taking cognizance of the issue (Kathua rape and murder case),” Slathia told PTI.
The JHCBA went on a four-day strike initially on April 4 in support of four demands, which included clarity from the government on tribal affairs and district status to Nowshehra sub-division in Rajouri district. It later extended the strike till April 17. The JHCBA also sponsored a general strike in Jammu on April 11 but faced severe criticism from various quarters.
Slathia, however, said the bar would continue its agitation over only two issues – deportation of Rohingyas and clarity on tribal affairs. “We will continue our agitation on two issues. We have only changed the mode of the agitation. We will continue our professional duties but simultaneously hold dharnas (sit-ins) and candle marches to make people aware about our demands to ensure early deportation of Rohingyas,” he said.
The BCI yesterday asked the Jammu and Kathua Bar associations to call off their strike and decided to send a five-member team headed by a former High Court Chief Justice to investigate the alleged incident of misconduct on part of the lawyers there in connection with the Kathua rape-murder case.
BCI chairman and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra had told reporters that if any lawyer is found guilty, then the council will go to the extend of cancelling the legal practise licence. The bar councils decision came after its general body meeting which was convened in the backdrop of the apex court’s notice to it.
The Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognisance of the strike call by the Kathua and the Jammu and Kashmir bar associations in connection with the gang-rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu region and issued notice to the bar bodies.
The Bar Association of Jammu had on April 13 said that it was extending its strike till April 17 against the “growing illegal presence of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals,” while alleging that its agitation for a CBI probe into the Kathua rape-cum-murder case was wrongly being portrayed as “communal”.
The minor victim had disappeared from near her home in a village near Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir on January 10. Her body was found in the same area a week later. The Crime Branch of J-K Police, which probed the case, filed a main charge sheet against seven persons and a separate charge sheet against a juvenile in a court in Kathua district earlier this week.
The charge sheet revealed chilling details about how the girl was allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped inside a place of worship before being killed.