On Saturday last, the 2nd of November, Delhi Police personnel launched a full scale assault on lawyers in the Tees Hazari District Court of Delhi on a flimsy excuse and even resorted to police firing within the Court compound. Three lawyers who were injured in the firing are still in Hospitals and many others were injured in the indiscriminate lathi charge. This violence was wrecked by the police despite the presence of Judges of the District Court. Delhi Committee of CPI (ML) New Democracy strongly condemns the Police violence and firing. The Party demands that the police officer ordering the firing, apart from the personnel who executed the order, should be immediately arrested under charges of attempt to murder. Police highhandedness, contempt for rights of people and propensity for violence against common people- all reflecting the attitude of Govts.- is well known in all parts of the country and here full play has been given to these. The Party stands by the lawyers in their struggle against the violence wrecked by the Police.
Delhi Committee of CPI(ML) New Democracy also strongly condemn the total silence of the Central Home Ministry under whose jurisdiction the Delhi Police falls, especially the silence of the home Minister Amit Shah, despite police firing on lawyers in the Capital city.
On the afternoon of 1st of November 2019, personnel of the Delhi Police began an altercation with a lawyer who was parking his car near the police lockup for undertrials at the Tis Hazari Dist. Courts in Delhi. However, to establish their argument, the policemen present allegedly dragged the lawyer into the lockup and assaulted him. This snowballed into both lawyers and senior police officers along with large contingents of police descending on the area. According to the spokespersons of the lawyers, at least six judges also came to the scene. However, police resorted to lathicharge on the lawyers and later to firing. The Police has asserted that it fired in the air to disperse the lawyers; the presence of a lawyer admitted with gunshot injury on the shoulder to the AIIMS apart from some other lawyers reporting with injuries at the nearby private hospital give ample lie to this statement. In addition, a police vehicle was burnt and also several motorcycles. Women lawyers and other lawyers have stated that police entered the surrounding lawyers’ chambers and roughed up the inmates, broke windows and doors of lawyers’ chambers. A part of the court premises was also burnt due to the flames rising from the burning vehicles.
The Delhi Police have registered four FIRs. One is lodged by a constable and charges of 307 IPC are among the charges against the lawyers framed under it. The second FIR has been lodged by the District Judge and two other FIRs by lawyers. On Sunday, the Delhi High Court took suo moto notice of the case and called all sections before it. The Court has instituted an Enquiry by a Retd. Judge of the High Court, Justice Garg, who will be assisted in the enquiry by officials deputed for this by the CBI, IB and other agencies. He will submit his report in six weeks. The High Court has also prohibited any coercive action against the lawyers. It has asked the Police Commissioner to suspend ASI Kanta Prasad for dragging the lawyer into the lockup and ASI Paswan for police firing. In addition it has directed transfer of Special Commissioner Sanjay Singh for ordering the lathicharge and Addl. DCP Harender Singh for ordering the firing even though the lawyers asked for their suspension.
The scale of the violence by the police and the arrogant and high handed attitude of even ordinary police personnel towards lawyers, who are white collar professionals, is reminiscent of the attack on lawyers in Delhi at the time when current BJP functionary Kiran Bedi, presently Lt. Governor of Puducherry, was an officer in the Delhi Police and led a massive police attack against peacefully protesting lawyers, beating them and chasing them into the streets adjacent to the Court building. The brutality of the officers is being mimicked even by the ordinary personnel in this case, when a handful of local police pulled a lawyer into the lockup and beat him up just because he parked his vehicle against their wishes. As mentioned earlier, when Delhi police can attack lawyers in this way, it is clear how brutally they deal with ordinary people of Delhi and how sure they are that their officers would stand by their brutality and contempt for rights. This is the situation across the country.
The Delhi Committee of CPI(ML) New Democracy also demands that officers of the Delhi Police who have been identified by the Delhi High Court should be suspended forthwith apart from arresting for attempted murder those who ordered the firing on the lawyers, pending the Enquiry ordered by the Court. Transfer is not the appropriate action.
The clear message going out from the Central govt. is that this violence and action by Delhi Police is condoned by it as indeed does it stand for police excesses against the people countrywide. In addition, the leaders and apologists of the BJP-RSS dispensation call for even greater powers to the police, all in the name of controlling ‘anti nationals’ and ‘terrorism’. The Yogi Govt. has set the benchmark by allowing unfettered fake ‘encounters’ to its police. All this violence is directed actually to terrorize the common people, and especially to crush any democratic expressions and struggles. Let us strengthen the fight for democratic rights and against police impunity. Support the struggles of the lawyers against police violence. Lawyers of High Court and District Courts of Delhi are observing a strike today and Lawyers of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have announced support. We call on all democratic organizations to support the struggle of the Delhi lawyers against police violence and especially for arrest of those police who ordered and carried out police firing.
November 3, 2019