Advocates unsafe in Bengal: No justice since 24 April assault

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Reshmi Rea Sinha
Advocate-on-record, Supreme Court of India
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Kolkata: Advocates in Howrah and Kolkata have been demonstrating outside court premises and elsewhere for more than a month after some of them were assaulted by goons in the Howrah Court Complex. The Mamata Banerjee government has not addressed their concerns yet. An advocate is seen here relating his plight.

The agitating advocates have now added to the strength of the striking doctors, as both the group of professionals are under attack in Bengal.

While Calcutta High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the assault on lawyers in Howrah, this advocate says that the high court also directed the police not to enter the court premises without the permission of the district judge, but the police are wantonly violating the order.

The advocate further says that false cases have been filed against the protesting advocates. Thankfully, he says, the high court has put a stay on all those cases.

If any doctor is arrested without any reason, advocates will also want that they should be released immediately, the advocate in the video above says.

“Lawyers and doctors serve society; if they are asking for some respect, their expectation is legitimate,” the advocate says. While lawyers and doctors are engaged in serving the public day in and day out, they are being attacked daily, he says. “How can they be attacked this way? We want justice,” he says.

On 24 April, at the Howrah Court Complex, advocates found vehicles of employees of the Howrah Municipal Corporation parked wrongly in the area meant for advocates’ cars. After they went to the municipality office to complain, instead of removing the vehicles, about 300 people from the municipal corporation, along with policemen, entered the court complex and assaulted the advocates.

Many of the advocates were badly wounded. Several bled profusely.

In the incident of April, police were seen pelting stones. The cops not only beat up the advocates, but they also entered the courtroom of the additional district judge and detonated a shell/bomb.

The judge himself says here when he was seated in his courtroom, police burst shells inside.

All over the State of West Bengal, the bar associations ceased work for several days in support of the victims of the Howrah Court atrocities.

The advocates started joining work after about a month of the said incident, but their issue of safety and security remains unaddressed.

In the meantime, some unknown elements had spread a rumour that the advocates’ strike had been called off, which created confusion among the striking lawyers.

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