Lawyers thrash JNU students, teachers and journalists

Last Updated 15 February 2016, 15:35 IST
Violence broke out in Patiala House court complex when groups of lawyers today attacked journalists, students and teachers of JNU and unidentified people in and outside the court dubbing them as anti-nationals in the wake of a raging row over the arrest of a student leader of the university.

A Delhi BJP MLA O P Sharma, who happened to be in the complex, also joined a group of lawyers in beating up a person, identified as CPI activist Ameeque Jamai, who was taken to Tuglaq Road police station.

The violence broke out when JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar against whom a sedition case has been filed was to be brought before metropolitan magistrate Lovleen for remand proceedings but was later taken elsewhere.

The lawyers, claiming to be patriots, first targeted the JNU students and teachers inside the court. They beat them up telling them that the JNU is a "den" of anti-India elements and terrorists.

A television reporter was attacked while a woman journalist was spared even as the crowd threatened them that their phones and bones will be broken. Outside the court, another group of lawyers thrashed journalists, JNU students and even court officials. BJP MLA O P Sharma who was in the complex in connection with the hearing in the defamation case filed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, was seen beating up Jamai. Jaitley himself was in the complex for sometime.

Later, when asked by the media, Sharma claimed he was roughed up when there a melee when slogans like 'Pakistan Zindabad, Hindustan Murdabad' were shouted.  When told there was footage about his beating up somebody, Sharma said "I do not known which video you are taking about."

And in the same breath, he said "it is not wrong if some body shouting such slogans is beaten up or even done to death."

In all, at least nine journalists were attacked, according to complaint by them with the Tilak Marg police station. Two of the journalists were taken to RML hospital for medical check up.

JNU teachers said 10 of their colleagues were beaten up. They said they had gone to attend the proceedings but a group of lawyers started yelling at them saying teachers were also anti-nationals, Rohit Azad, one of the teachers said.

Nivedita Menon, faculty, JNU School of International Studies, said the attack on teachers was a clear indication how the government was running the country.

"You (JNU) produce anti-nationals and terrorists. You should get out of the country. Long live India, shut down JNU," the attackers shouted pushing the students and teachers out of the court room.

"Before the proceedings were to start, some people wearing lawyers' gowns first started hurling abuses at us. And then suddenly some of them, without any provocation, started beating us badly. They pushed us and beat us up including women students," AISF President Waliullah Qadri told reporters. The students and teachers refused to go out of the court room and said they have a right to attend the proceedings as it was an open court hearing.

The group also began to check the identity cards of media persons and asked them also to leave the court room. The media persons objected to their demand and refused to move out of the court room when they were attacked by the men, who accused the media persons of being JNU supporters and accused them of wrong reporting.

There was heavy police deployment in the court complex, but the students alleged that they did not take any action against this group. The policemen later drove all the students, teachers and mediapersons out of the court complex.

Later, Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi promised action against those involved in the attack on mediapersons in Patiala House court. "Law will take its course. Action will be taken in accordance with law against anybody who takes the law in their hands. I will speak to Delhi Police Commissioner," he told reporters.

On his part, Commissioner B S Bassi described the incidents in the court complex as a scuffle and no major injuries have been reported. He said mediapersons were roughed up and added that police will look into complaints relating to the incident and take action."Certain excesses have been committed by both sides," Bassi said.
(Published 15 February 2016, 09:45 IST)

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