Book the rowdies
The completely mindless and unprovoked attack by a section of lawyers on media persons and the police at the Bangalore city civil court premises on Friday and the police’s retaliatory action on the lawyers later, deserve to be condemned in the strongest terms.
If the advocates’ community was guilty of being either active or passive participants in targeting the media and the police, the police force did not cover itself with glory either by mercilessly beating up every lawyer in the vicinity to demonstrate their anger after some of the policemen, including a senior officer, were injured in the stone-throwing.
Chief minister D V Sadnanda Gowda, who described the incident as “shameful and dastardly” and ordered a judicial inquiry, would do well to go to the bottom of the animosity among the lawyers, the media and the police, which had been building up ever since the advocates paralysed the City for over seven hours with their strike last January.
A large media contingent, comprising many from the electronic media, had gathered at the court premises to do its duty of covering the appearance of jailed former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy in a special court. A section of ‘rowdy’ advocates, reportedly unhappy with the media’s searing criticism of the gridlocking of vehicular traffic during the January strike, launched a barbaric attack on some media persons, severely beating up two cameramen in particular and snatching and damaging their equipment.
They also hurled stones at the police, set fire to vehicles and a police post. The police, who were restrained earlier, lost their cool and went on a lathi-charge and tear-gassing spree when an elderly constable was allegedly bludgeoned with a boulder.
It seems that the lower rung of the police, frustrated with the alleged inaction of their superiors, went on baton-charging the lawyers and setting fire to some of the advocates’ vehicles. Friday’s incidents have set a very dangerous precedent.
The government perhaps erred in not initiating action against a section of lawyers who held the City to ransom last January. Even on earlier occasions, whenever advocates and the police have clashed, the guilty have gone unpunished, increasing public anger against them. It’s only a minority among the lawyers who are tarring the image of the entire fraternity.
At least now, the Bar Council should initiate disciplinary action against the rowdy elements and suspend their registration. The government too has a duty to bring to book the police personnel responsible for the counter-violence.