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Saturday 30 May 2020

Police, lawyers must share the blame, videos suggest

In the meantime, Delhi Police personnel refused to guard the Tis Hazari court today even as some lawyers tried playing the role of sentinels

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At Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court, the lawyer-police discord saw no reconciliation on Thursday, with no cop seen outside the premises, probably choosing a form of protest less visible than the one demonstrated outside the Delhi Police headquarters on 5 November. Some of the lawyers present there tried to play the role of security personnel of the court. Mercifully, commoners availed of the court services without any untoward incident even as the security apparatus replete with metal detectors and X-ray machines lay idle at the court compound.

Meanwhile, the strike of lawyers continued even today. Lawyers started mobilising at the Saket Court since morning. They are still demanding more action against the police.

The ruckus that broke out between the two sets of professionals on 2 November has rendered the atmosphere outside courts tensed, but advocates are seen welcoming the people coming to the court.

The lawyers of Delhi approached the Supreme Court and demanded a ban on the media from reporting on the clashes between the lawyers and the police. Lawyers say that the media is defaming them. The Supreme Court refused to hear the issue, though.

The Supreme Court refused to hear the petition soon. The court said that there would be no restriction on media reporting in the Tis Hazari Court case. The apex court asked the lawyers to file an application at the Delhi High Court.

In Ghaziabad yesterday, people demonstrated in support of the policemen and carried out a candle march while in Yamuna Vihar area of ​​Bhajanpura, the local people took out a march in support of the police. Hundreds of people participated in it. The activists described the police as innocent in the lawyer-versus-police standoff.

Video: Large police force approaches lawyers menacingly

A few lawyers can be seen fleeing the scene

The video above was posted by Facebook user Vivek V. Kannankeri on 2 November [Caution: Foul language, audience discretion advised].

Edited CCTV footage and the whole picture

On Saturday, when the violence between lawyers and policemen took place at Tis Hazari Court in Delhi, the lawyers allegedly assaulted a woman police officer in uniform there. Her loaded gun went missing that day.

In the CCTV footage that surfaced today, the policemen, on the day of the incident purportedly, can be seen trying to avert crowding near the police vans. The footage shows them asking a lawyer to move his car that was just parked behind a police van in front of the lock-ups. This is the extent of the incident most people have seen on social media today.

But this is not the whole picture. The blame must be shared by both parties to the dispute.

Sirf News is producing the video that shows policemen dragging the lawyer by his collar, which even television channels did not show.

Another CCTV clipping then shows some men in black coats and trousers trying to set on fire the vehicles outside the room in which policemen locked themselves. This is what some television channels have shown:

Four days since the clash, Delhi Police has still not filed any complaint in the case of its female officer, whom lawyers allegedly manhandled outside Tis Hazari Court. The woman IPS officer says that her loaded 9 mm service pistol had been missing since Saturday. But Delhi Police has so far refused to register an FIR for this.

A senior official said that the woman officer told her colleagues that making a formal complaint would not lead to any favourable outcome for the police and that “she would prove herself a fool”.

Officially, the police claim that they cannot take any action without a formal complaint. Unless it’s a case of sexual harassment, the police do not have the right to take action on its own, they said. “There is a lot of pressure on the police to speed up investigations and suppress sensitive issues,” said an official. So the senior officials who were told about both these incidents are also silent on this. In fact, the woman officer is being urged not to pursue her case, a source told Sirf News.

According to reports across the media, on Saturday, a policeman had asked three lawyers to remove a “wrongly parked” car, after which the dispute arose. In the violence that broke out thereafter, 30 people were injured.

The footage of several CCTV cameras, in which lawyers are seen attacking policemen and trying to set bikes on fire, were seen on social mediums like Facebook and Twitter. There is one video where policemen are seen pouring water on their car and extinguishing the fire.

A crowd of lawyers is seen in another video demanding that the police constable who prevented their colleagues from parking the car be handed over to them. “They (the lawyers) were so angry that the constable was asked to change his uniform and wear plain clothes,” an officer present at the spot recalled. To avoid the angry lawyers apparently, the police personnel that were seen in the first video asking a lawyer to move his car are seen in plain clothes sitting with some of the accused they had brought to the court.

A couple of videos on social media follows.

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