The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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This ceasework a crime: Anil

Calcutta, Dec. 19: CPM state secretary Anil Biswas today came down heavily on the striking lawyers, charging them with manhandling those willing to join work and the journalists covering the strike.

“They (the lawyers) are supposed to give legal service to the people. But how do we describe people who manhandle and assault others' We call them criminals. The lawyers who are obstructing others from returning to work are committing a crime. They should refrain from such activities and resume duties immediately,” Biswas said at the state party headquarters.

Ignoring the CPM’s repeated pleas to withdraw agitation, the state Bar Council today extended its ceasework till December 23. It’s chairman, Amiya Kumar Chatterjee, said the extension was meant to give the government more time to reconsider the demands and sort out the impasse by inviting the lawyers to talks.

Asked if the government will initiate action against the striking lawyers after the Left Front termed it “illegal”, Biswas said the CPM expected the high court to take suo-motu action as the Supreme Court had ruled that legal action could be initiated against any lawyer refusing to offer services to his client.

“I don’t know what exactly the Supreme Court has observed regarding the lawyers’ strike. But I can tell you that a particular party and the government have compelled us to continue our ceasework. Today, we were almost certain about withdrawing the strike. But we are now receiving reports from the district courts that the police and the CPM cadre have joined hands in dismantling it. They have even assaulted our members,” Chatterjee said.

“Nineteen of the 25 members of our executive attended the meeting today and decided to continue the agitation to protest the police atrocities and attacks by the CPM cadre. Three of our executive members belong to the the DLA and they did not oppose our decision,” Chatterjee said.

DLA leader Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharjee today filed a writ petition in Calcutta High Court demanding contempt proceedings against the council.

Bhattacharjee had earlier said that he felt it was “illegal” for a lawyer to deprive his client of legal aid.

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