'Lawyers kept looking for 'anti-national' students, professors'

It all began at 2 pm when a group of men in lawyers' robes entered the courtroom of metropolitan magistrate Lovleen. They told those present to leave, claiming that they should have obtained permission first to attend the proceedings.

Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Kanhaiya Kumar was to be produced there on the expiry of his three-day police custody.

A group of students, however, objected to the lawyers’ demand saying that it was an open court. 

In a move which appeared to be predetermined, the lawyers started thrashing students, professors, media persons and even the court staff.

A man standing near the stairs of the courtroom was among those beaten up. He was let off only when he started screaming that he was a court employee. 

The 50-odd lawyers then started looking for ‘anti-national’ JNU students and professors. But some media persons seen using their mobiles were their first targets.  “I was talking to my colleagues in office when someone hit me on my neck. My phone was then snatched,” a journalist told Deccan Herald. “The phone was returned only after I showed my ID card,” he added.

Another journalist caught in the brawl claimed that the lawyers were asking if they were from JNU. 

“They held people presuming them to be from JNU and started thrashing them. My mobile phone was snatched and broken saying that I had filmed them beating people,” he said.

Some even hurled shoes. A female journalist said that the attackers also misbehaved with her. Later, nine journalists filed a complaint with Tilak Marg police station.

Separate complaintA separate complaint has been filed by some JNU students.“Seven faculty members, including five women, were manhandled and pushed in the court,” said JNU professor Ayesha.

“The murderous mob was baying for blood and the cops just stood and watched. The attackers were men in lawyers' clothes but they were clearly on the wrong side of the law,” she added.

All this happened in the presence of police personnel who were deployed in large numbers at the court complex.

The lawyers chanted “Long live India, down with JNU”. It is alleged that they also used abusive language and shouted anti-Pakistan and pro-India slogans till evening.

Sensing that things could get out of control, police produced Kanhaiya Kumar before the metropolitan magistrate at Vasant Vihar police station. His custody was extended by two more days.

Condemning the attack, Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has demanded strong action against the lawyers. They alleged that police remained “mute spectators” to the entire incident. Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi described the incident as a scuffle and said that no major injuries were reported. Police will look into the complaints and take action.

“Certain excesses have been committed by both sides,” Bassi said.

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