NEW DELHI: A reporter was beaten up outside a Delhi court today by a group of lawyers in a shocking repeat of Monday’s assaults on journalists, students and teachers who had gathered at the same court for the case of a JNU student who has been arrested on charges of sedition.
Water cannons have been brought to the court where the police is now in riot gear. “I am really shamed,” said Soli Sorabjee, one of India’s most eminent lawyers. “They are goons. Lawyers don’t behave this way.”
Before Kanhaiya Kumar, the 28-year-old President of the JNU Students Union, could be brought to court this afternoon, two groups of lawyers clashed as they shouted competing slogans supporting or deriding JNU, or the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Based on Monday’s violence, which saw lawyer attacking the media and supporters of Mr Kumar, the Supreme Court this morning issued orders greatly limiting access to the lower court where Mr Kumar’s case is being heard.
Vikram Chauhan, a lawyer who has not been arrested despite being filmed attacking people on Monday, was at the heart of today’s chaos as well. In open defiance of the Supreme Court’s orders, he climbed the gate of the lower court. He alleged that he was provoked by students who support Mr Kumar.
“They are trying to beat us up and we don’t even respond? People who said ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ have been made heroes and we are being called ‘gundas (goons),'” he said to news agency ANI.
The arrest of Mr Kumar has turned into a highly-emotive and politically-charged controversy, with the opposition and large sections of the JNU students and faculty accusing the government of an unwarranted crackdown on campus dissent. However, the government says it has evidence that Mr Kumar delivered anti-India slogans at JNU last week, and that the sedition charge against him is deserved.
The journalist assaulted today, Tarique Anwar, works with First Post. Just like on Monday, he said the police did nothing to help him.