Howrah/Kolkata: [VIDEO DISCLAIMER: STRONG LANGUAGE, AUDIENCE DISCRETION ADVISED] An argument over an odd parking practice snowballed into violence, injuring several lawyers and court staff in Howrah of West Bengal, thanks to the alleged hooliganism of a municipality run by the ruling party of the State, the Trinamool. The parking area at the Howrah Court Complex, meant for judges, advocates, court staff, etc. and not for others, was being used by the Howrah Municipal Corporation, creating inconvenience to the court staff.
On 24 April at 10:30 AM, a car of Howrah Municipal Corporation was found parked unnecessarily in the motorbike parking area of Howrah Court complex. This time, the lawyers could not take it anymore and went to the municipality office to complain about the issue. The municipal authority was but in no mood to accept its mistake. An argument broke out.
The lawyers, eyewitnesses say, went back to the court thereafter. After some time, four daily-wage workers were sent to remove the municipality’s car. These were 100-days wage earner appointees. According to the sources, they were hired goons.
Instead of removing the cars, they held some lawyers by their the collars and abused them in filthy language, said an eyewitness. “You *** have gone too far,” exclaimed one of the lumpen elements.
They pushed the advocates. First, one advocate and then others with him were manhandled. Thereafter, the police came and stopped them.
The lawyers demanded that the assaulters be arrested, but the police went away from the spot without taking any action.
After some time, about 300 people from the municipal corporation entered the court complex and started beating the advocates. They held some lawyers as hostages and also started throwing bricks at the court complex.
MLA of Howrah Arup Roy, on arrival at the spot, said, “This is a small issue. It is being shown that something big has happened.” He asked the staffers of the Municipal Corporation to go away.
“I will manage these advocates,” he said. Saying this, Roy left the spot. Momentarily, the municipal staffers went away too.
After 20 minutes, however, the police re-entered the court complex and attacked the advocates, taking recourse not only to lathi charge and teargas indiscriminately but also to stone-pelting, claim the advocates.
The women and the elderly among the lawyers were not spared either, they say.
Some advocates have suffered head injuries, with wounds inflicted by the lathi charge visible on their bodies.
The video above has a victim narrating her plight.