Patiala House court violence: Police say assaulters identified

By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha 

New Delhi, May 15:

Three months after the unseemly violence at the Patiala House court complex in the capital in which journalists were assaulted and thrashed by some lawyers, all that Delhi Police say they have been able to do is to have “examined” the visual footage of the incident and identified the assaulters.

Delhi PoliceA report on the status of investigation will soon be submitted to the Supreme Court, which is hearing a plea seeking action against the attackers.

“We have examined visuals of the CCTV cameras installed in the Patiala House Court premise and identified the assaulters,” a senior police officer told IANS, not wishing to be identified.

Over 40 cameras are installed in various places of Patiala House Courts Complex and all of them were operational when the incident took place, a court official told IANS.

He added that after the incident the court in-charge sent the visuals to the Delhi Police for conducting a fair probe into the matter.

A group of people in lawyers’ garb, on February 15 and February 17, assaulted mediapersons and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) teachers and students, including student union president Kanhaiya Kumar, dubbing them anti-national.

Kanhaiya had been brought to the court on both days for his remand hearing following his arrest on sedition charges for organising a meeting on the campus earlier in February in support of Afzal Guru, hanged for his role in the December 13, 2001, attack on the Indian parliament.

Delhi Police have registered four first information reports (FIRs) on the violence.

Three lawyers – Vikram Singh Chauhan, Yashpal Singh and Om Sharma – were arrested and later released on bail for allegedly interfering in the administration of justice and wilfully violating a February 17 order of the Supreme Court, which had directed the peaceful conduct of proceedings. Delhi BJP legislator O.P. Sharma was also arrested and later released on bail over his alleged involvement in the assault on CPI member Amieeque Jamei at Patiala House court complex.

The senior officer told IANS that police have recorded the statement of various people, including journalists, as prosecution witnesses in the case and the probe is still on.

“We are preparing an investigation report. A status report of the probe will first be submitted to the Supreme Court and thereafter we will file the charge-sheet in the case,” the officer said.

He however declined to give more details about the investigation, saying the matter was sub-judice.

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has also appointed a committee to inquire into the incidents.

A lawyer who is also one of the prosecution witnesses in the case told IANS that he had submitted a detailed statement of the incident for nailing the assaulters.

The lawyer said that the advocates involved in the violence seemed to be politically motivated and provoked the other members of the legal fraternity to gain some brownie points.

Criticising the attack, he said no wise law officers would support the incident.

“The incidents have brought a bad image to the legal fraternity. The law must take strict action against the assaulters so that such incidents are not repeated,” he added.

However, some lawyers defended their community, saying on condition of anonymity that the advocates were only protesting against the anti-national activities that occurred in the university campus.

A peaceful demonstration had been called against this, but outsiders wearing black coats created a ruckus inside the court complex, a lawyer said.

He also condemned some news channels for airing morphed and doctored videos of the meeting on the university campus and said this had incited the incidents in the court complex. News channels must act in a responsible way while airing visuals of any happening, he added.

A Delhi government complaint last month seeking action against three news channels stated that forged, fabricated, doctored and altered video disrupted communal harmony, leading to the assault on journalists and others at the Patiala House court. (IANS)

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