New Delhi: An eminent lawyer and now a senior PDP leader in Jammu and Kashmir, also known to be the conscience keeper of CM Mehbooba Mufti, Muzaffar Hussain Baig believes the Jammu lawyers and the stand taken by the Jammu Bar in the abduction, rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl in Jammu is nothing but disservice to the profession and the nation.
It has been alleged by the lawyer of the victim’s family that the Bar Association president has threatened her for supporting the Muslim family.
Speaking to CNN-News18’s Marya Shakil, Baig said that he believes there is no question of Mufti resigning on moral grounds, instead she should ensure that justice is delivered to the little girl who was violated and murdered with pre-meditated brutality. While the nation is outraged and shocked to the core, Baig said he is ashamed of the lawyers who are shouting for a CBI probe and supporting the accused.
Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:
Q: What happened to Asifa is a crime against humanity. Your alliance partner leaders are openly backing the alleged rapists. Questions are being asked on why is Mehbooba Mufti continuing as the CM?
Baig: How does this case justify or warrant the resignation of the chief minister. In fact, she must face this challenge and see to it that the investigation is taken to its logical conclusion. The investigation is being conducted under the supervision of the court so no one should fear that this will be a biased investigation. The investigation team is being headed — I am sorry to use these words but just because of the fact that the case is being polarised on communal lines, I have to say this — investigation is being headed by a Hindu, with an impeccable record.
Q: Has Mehbooba Mufti failed? Is she is in some kind of a bind? What is this coalition politics?
Baig: How is Mehbooba to be put in the dock here? She ordered an investigation, she is in touch with the DGP and also the head of the crime branch team. Why should she resign? In fact, if anything, this must encourage her and she should take it as a challenge to take it to its logical conclusion. So, I don't know how this question of Mehbooba resigning on moral grounds arises at all.
Q: Mr Baig, you have often taken a contrarian position, been Mehbooba Mufti’s conscience keeper in the past, has Mehbooba Mufti’s moral compass been broken this time?
Baig: Has she committed the crime? Has she said that there should be no investigation? She must see to it that justice is done. This shameful act unfortunately took its present form when two BJP ministers said very irresponsible things and gave the incident a very communal colour. Otherwise, it was the crime of the worst sort that we have witnessed in the last 30 years and the BJP and PDP coalition government should stay firm to ensure that the culprits are brought to the book and justice is served.
Q: Being a lawyer yourself, how do you feel about the Jammu bar association members’ stand? Some members of your fraternity are indulging in protests, threatening the victim’s lawyer. Shouldn’t some action be taken against them?
Baig: I know most of the leaders of the lawyers' association who did this. I am sorry to say that they have failed not only their own professional, ethical obligations, but also the state. I am sorry that they are failing the entire nation. They are giving an impression based on the majoritarianism that the culprits should go free. They are straightaway playing into the hands of those who want to see a breakup of the state along communal and regional lines. I hope that they rethink their position and come forward and help the court where the matter would be brought for trial.
Q: Do they deserve to be even called lawyers Mr Baig?
Baig: You have some lawyers just as you have some politicians. I am appalled that the chosen representatives of the lawyers are doing something which brings shame to the profession.
Q: This incident shows the moral depravity of our country. Time also for the top leadership of the BJP to speak out?
Baig: Yes, I expect that someone responsible at the central government, the ruling organisation should come forward and admonish those who are carrying out this dishonest campaign in Jammu in name of the Hindu religion. This is the worst in crime even in Hinduism. I don't want to draw parallels but if they look at their own religious history then they will be ashamed that they have brought this kind of disrepute to themselves in the name of religion. That is why I said that they are doing great disservice to the nation, not only to the cause of justice and the poor little girl.