Lawyers hold City to ransom; govt, police mute spectators

Advocates were protesting against attack on colleague

The state government and the police department took a soft stand when about 300 advocates blocked the City’s nucleus, causing massive traffic snarls and harassment to commuters for several hours on Tuesday.

The advocates blocked Kempegowda Circle in protest against an alleged attack on a lawyer by a constable on January 14, triggering chaos and traffic gridlocks for more than seven hours.

Though the incident occurred three days ago, the unruly lawyers chose to agitate on a working day even as the police watched helplessly.

Several ambulances carrying patients to different hospitals were stuck in the traffic jams, causing harrowing moments for relatives desperate to take the critically ill to hospitals for urgent medical attention.

In response to the lawyers’ flash agitation, Law Minister Suresh Kumar and City Police Commissioner Jyothiprakah Mirji offered only platitudes, with their comments indicating that they were not serious enough to book the lawyers responsible for one of the messiest traffic situations the City has ever experienced over the past two years.

The lawyers have taken recourse to such forms for agitations repeatedly but no legal action followed.

As the public and the police watched helplessly, traffic came to a standstill on all the roads leading to Mysore Bank Circle from 12 noon to 7 pm.

Thousands of office-goers, railway and outstation passengers had a harrowing time. The advocates shouted slogans, threw stones at a BMTC bus and a police water jet vehicle.

They also squatted on the road, unmoved by repeated pleas by the police, forcing thousands of people to sit in their stranded vehicles for hours.

The police were mute spectators. They did not act, waiting for orders. More surprisingly, in the end, not a single person was arrested or even taken into preventive custody. Mirji said the police were ready to call for a detailed inquiry.

“Let a representative from the advocates side be there during the course of the enquiry and after the outcome, we will take action. If not, they have a choice to move the court.”
The top police brass had instructed not to resort to lathi-charge, police sources said.

The Law Minister said while lawyers have the right to air th­e­ir grievances, they should not hold the city and people to ransom.

Advocates’ Association Bangalore unit president K N Subba Reddy and General Secretary A P Ranganath justified the protest. “The advocates became furious when they saw the pictures of the lawyer being cane-charged by the police,” they said.

 On January 14, the Thyagaraj Nagar police constables - Arun K and Lokesh had spotted three men on a bike (KA-25-R-6271) without helmet.

  “ArunK who caned the advocates was not even a traffic cop. Even if he was concerned, he has no right to beat our colleagues,” said Ranganath.

Whenhe failed to stop the bike, he forcibly held on to the handle and stopped them.  He asked them who they were and where they resided. According to the police, the irked threesome allegedly pounced on the cop and started abusing the constable on duty. Later, with public help, a Hoysala team took them to the police station.

The Advocates’ Association claimed the advocate was assaulted. Tuesday’s massive protest was to demand the immediate suspension of the constable and to conduct an inquiry. They protest was called off only after the constable was suspended.

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