Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising on Monday tweeted that Talib Hussain, a social activist who led a campaign against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in the state’s Kathua district in January, was tortured in police custody. Jaising said Hussain is being treated for serious skull injuries at a hospital in Samba.

In April, the lawyer had petitioned the Supreme Court to transfer the case out of Kathua. “This is unacceptable in a democracy,” Jaising tweeted.

Hussain, a social activist known for leading a demonstration demanding justice for the family of the girl, was arrested on charges of rape and illegal possession of weapons on August 2, reports said.

Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid refuted the claims and said that Hussain hit himself on the head “out of frustration”. Vaid told that other inmates saw the incident and that there was visual proof. The police official said Hussain had only sustained scratches and was taken back to the Samba Police station.

The case

The girl was allegedly abducted on January 10 and killed on January 14. Her body was found near Kathua on January 17. Eight people, including a minor, are accused of murdering an eight-year-old girl after allegedly raping her over several days in Kathua district in January. The police said in the chargesheet that the accused had kidnapped, drugged, gangraped and then killed the girl.

The case sparked nationwide protests after two Bharatiya Janata Party ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government attended a rally organised in support of one of the accused.

In May, the Supreme Court had transferred the trial to Punjab’s Pathankot.