Dec. 19: Several courts across the state today witnessed ugly scenes of violence perpetrated by the people who uphold law, the lawyers.
At last count, 25 people were injured in clashes between lawyers supporting and opposing the strike to protest the hike in court fees.
The sub-divisional judicial magistrate at Alipore was among those injured in the clashes that spread from the south Calcutta court to Katwa in Burdwan and Barrackpore and Barasat in North 24-Parganas.
Lawyers fought a pitched battle at Serampore prompting police to wield lathis to separate the warring groups. More than 20 were injured in the incident.
In Alipore, two scuffling lawyers entered sub-divisional judicial magistrate Debabrata Sinha’s chamber shouting slogans around 3 pm.
Police inspector Ajoy Biswas said he “saw” a firearm with one of them and flung himself on Sinha, who fell off his chair and sustained head injuries. Sinha was admitted to the intensive-care unit of SSKM Hospital.
Later, Biswas told the officer in-charge of Alipore police station that he “thought he had seen a firearm protruding from the pocket of one of the lawyers and had tried to protect the magistrate without a second thought”.
In all the incidents, striking members of the Bar Council clashed with those affiliated to the CPM-backed Democratic Lawyers’ Association.
In the sub-divisional judicial magistrate’s court at Serampore, eight lawyers belonging to the DLA came this morning allegedly followed by more than 200 “outsiders” and tried to enter court past a group of agitating lawyers. A scuffle ensued and a free-for-all followed. Ten minutes into the melee, sub-divisional police officer S.S. Chakraborty ordered the waiting police force to use their lathis.
Council member Gopal Nandy alleged that he was beaten up by the “CPM cadre” accompanying the DLA members. “It was like a joint operation by the police and the cadre, who beat our members severely,” Nandy said, blood trickling from the bruise on his face. Chandranath Basu, assistant secretary of the Serampore Bar Library, suffered a broken arm.
The Council members claimed CPM councillor Biswanath Das, former civic body member Barin Banerjee and DYFI leader Shiu Mangal Singh were at the forefront of the cadre.
In Katwa, five DLA members were allegedly beaten up by the striking lawyers when they tried to enter a courtroom. The striking lawyers denied any role in the incident. “Why should we beat them. We had put up resistance when they tried to break the strike,” said one of them.