Day-long protest ends after CP assures action against assault by lawyers
Protesting against the assault by lawyers on court premises in Delhi, a large number of Delhi Police personnel sat on agitation demanding redressal of their grievances throughout the day near the Delhi Police Headquarters on Tuesday. However, they called off their stir after senior police officials, including the Commissioner of Police, assured them of action against the physical assault.
The immediate provocation for the protest was assault by lawyers on an on-duty police constable outside the Saket Court on Monday, and also the feeling of persecution at the hands of the Delhi High Court which punished senior police officials but made it clear that no coercive action would be taken against any lawyer. The HC had directed the Delhi police commissioner to transfer Special Commissioner Sanjay Singh and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harinder Singh during the pendency of the judicial enquiry.
It was for the first time in 72 years of the Delhi Police that thousands of police personnel protested against the top brass at police headquarters for their inaction in the lawyer-police clash that took place at Tis Hazari Court on Saturday.
As surging crowds of protesters gathered outside the police headquarters, leading to traffic snarls, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik came out of his office to assure them that their concerns will be addressed and urged them to resume duties.
During the day, the entire top brass of the Delhi Police, including Special Commissioner (Crime) Satish Golchha, Special CP (Intelligence) Praveer Ranjan, Joint CP (Southern Range) Devesh Srivastva, Joint CP (Central Range) Rajesh Khurana, Joint CP (New Delhi) Anand Mohan, tried to pacify the police personnel who refused to budge, chanting slogans demanding justice.
Holding up placards with slogans such as “We are human in police uniforms”, “We are not punching bags” and “Protectors need protection”, the policemen and policewomen urged their seniors to stand with them to save the honour of the uniform.
A protesting policeman, said, “Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went to meet injured lawyers but did not meet our policemen who were also injured in the incident. Isn’t it unfair to us.”
“Why everyone looks at us as we are the devil, don’t we have the human rights. We too have families who are always under the fear. The situation is like we are on the verge of being lynched. Our superiors should take firm actions,” said Amit, a Delhi Police constable.
“We serve the people before our families. We give up our life, children and even holidays just to keep the city safe but recent incidents show that there is no one to keep us safe. I am really disappointed to say but now even khaki needs protection,” said a woman constable who did not wished to be named.
The protesting cops demanded to reinstate Special CP Sanjay Singh and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Harinder Singh, formation of a Delhi Police personnel union similar to Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Administrative Service (IAS) associations.
The also demanded thorough investigation into the suspension of ASI, best treatment and compensation for injured police personnel in the clash and to move application in the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court decision.
Urging the police personnel to call off their strike, Patnaik said, “We have to behave like a disciplined force. The Government and the people expect us to uphold the law, it is our big responsibility. I urge you to resume duty. The last few days have been testing for us. A judicial enquiry is underway and I request you to have faith in the process.”
“If you have faith in senior officers, your demands will be fulfilled. Injured cops are receiving best possible treatment,” Joint CP Devesh Srivastva told the protesting police personnel.
“FIRs have also been registered in connection with Saket and Tis Hazari Court incidents. No departmental action will be taken against those who are protesting,” added Srivastva.
“A compensation of `25,000 will be given to police personnel who were injured in the clashes,” said Special Commissioner (Crime) Satish Golchha.
A candle march was also organised by the family members of the police personnel to mark their protest.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon the Centre rushed to the Delhi High Court urging that its order for no coercive action against advocates, passed on Sunday following the lawyers-police clash at Tis Hazari Courts Complex, should not be applicable on the subsequent incidents.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice and sought response of the Bar Council of India, the apex body of lawyers, and several others bar associations of national Capital on the Centre’s plea.
Some of the lawyers associations also approached the Delhi High Court seeking ban on the media from showing videos of the recent incidents saying they could worsen the situation. The Bench declined to pass any interim order and said the matter would be heard in detail on Wednesday.
Lawyers would continue to boycott work on Wednesday, notwithstanding a Bar Council of India appeal to end their strike, the chairman of coordination committee of All Bar Associations in Delhi said on Tuesday.
“Abstinence from work in all Delhi district courts will continue tomorrow. In order to ensure success of the movement, all are requested to maintain the movement peacefully. Litigants be permitted to have access to the court rooms,” said Dhir Singh Kasana, secretary of general coordination committee, All district courts bar association, here.
The Union Home Ministry also received a report from the Delhi Police on Saturday’s clash.
“The factual report of Delhi Police was submitted incorporating the details of the Tis Hazari court incident. It is a factual report in which Delhi Police has given details of the circumstances leading to Saturday’s incident and the action taken after it,” the official said.
Delhi Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal on Tuesday was briefed about the situation by Special CP (Intelligence). Special CP also apprised the crowd that corrective application is already being filed in before the court.
“In the wake of the recent unfortunate incident, it is imperative to restore the trust between the two and also to ensure that justice is done impartially in the entire matter,” said Baijal.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju shared the video on Twitter saying, “Let’s not take law into our hands. It’s not question of supporting any group”.
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said, “A new low in 72 years. Police on protest in the National Capital. Is this BJP’s New India?”
The incidents drew sharp criticism from senior police officials who took to Twitter to register their discontent. “I am sorry.. We are police … We don’t exist… We don’t have families…We don’t have human rights!!!” said former Delhi Police spokesman Madhur Verma, currently posted as Arunachal Pradesh’s Deputy Inspector General (DIG).
He was joined by former DCP north west district Aslam Khan, now posted with Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). Khan posted the attack video with a caption, “Khakhi going down to the worse”.
The IPS Association tweeted in support of the agitating police officers and wrote, “Incident involving police & lawyers unfortunate. All should take a balanced view of it based on facts in public domain. Countrywide, police stands in solidarity with those police personnel subjected to physical assault and humiliation. Condemn all attempts to break law, by anyone!”
“Saddened to see such treatment meted out to police officers who spend their entire lives protecting civil society and maintaining law & order,” tweeted former Jammu and Kashmir DGP SP Vaid.
Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar slammed the leadership for the fallout. On twitter, he wrote: “I fully agree. No leadership, no camaraderie. If one member of the team has been overpowered by goons, let him fend for himself. Everyone else will enjoy the spectacle, even if he is beaten to death. Police leaders in hiding lest any onus comes on them. Shameful.”
The tussle between the cops and lawyers began on Saturday at Delhi’s Tis Hazari court where they clashed over parking dispute. A police car was set ablaze and 20 more vehicles were vandalised during the clashes. One Assistant Sub-Inspectors (ASI) was suspended while another was transferred by the Delhi High Court and a judicial probe was ordered in the incident.
A video of the incident, showing some men beating up a man in uniform on a bike, was circulated widely on social media. When the policeman was leaving the spot, a man also hit his bike with his helmet. The protesters also demanded action against the lawyer who assaulted the constable.
Wednesday, 06 November 2019 | Shekhar Singh | New Delhi
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