“We will dig your grave right here... in land of Jammu and Kashmir,” chanted a mob of 20-25 men gathered outside lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat’s house in Jammu late night on 20 October, forcing her to call the police.
Speaking to The Quint, the lawyer said that the mob was openly issuing death threats, even after the police arrived to clear them.
The incident happened a day after the lawyer posted a cartoon on Twitter, which was criticised on social media as “anti-Hindu.” The cartoon juxtaposes an image of a man bowing down before a female deity during Navratri against an image of a man as a perpetrator of crimes against women on other days.
"“They kept shouting these lines again and again. Everyone in the neighbourhood woke up. I called the police immediately. To protest is one thing but to issue death threats is not acceptable. The mob was issuing death threats even in front of the police.”" - Deepika Singh Rajawat
No arrest has been made in connection with the case yet, said Rajawat, adding that she will be filing a complaint with the Inspector General of Police of the Jammu Zone.
The lawyer rose to fame in January 2018 after she decided to represent the family of an eight-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in Kathua district. However, in November 2018, the family had removed Rajawat as their lawyer.
From Online Trolling to Offline Mobs
Rajawat on Monday, 19 October, posted the cartoon, with a caption ‘irony’. Many handles on social media criticised her for “shaming Hindus and their festivals.”
— Deepika Singh Rajawat (Kashir Koor) (@DeepikaSRajawat) October 19, 2020
Elaborating on the intention behind the tweet, Rajawat said that she only wanted to highlight the “mindset of the people.”
“My tweet was to highlight the mindset of people and not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiment. I want to reiterate that my tweet was not to abuse anyone,” she said, adding that there was “no doubt” that the mob had gathered following the online abuse she had faced.
Through the day on 20 October, #ArrestDeepikaRajawat was trending on Twitter. Arun Yadav, the BJP leader in charge for IT and Social Media in Haryana, was among those who tweeted against Rajwat.
— Arun Yadav (@beingarun28) October 20, 2020
— arun (@arunpudur) October 20, 2020
‘They Can’t Silence Me’
Rajawat further added that while the police cleared the mob in an hour, many of her friends and family stayed up until late as they “feared for her life.”
“They are doing this to silence my voice. Just because I’m rising against important issues, this is happening. They are doing this to damage my reputation. However, they cannot silence me. Ultimately, it is about standing for justice and speaking against patriarchal mindset,” the lawyer said.
She also asserted that she “believed in the police and judiciary” and hoped that the law will take its course.
(The Quint has reached out to the local police. The article will be updated as and when they respond.)
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