Bangalore: For about 60 minutes this morning, media crews outside a Bangalore court tried to duck stones, helmets, iron chairs all being flung at them by a group of nearly 500 lawyers. The riot lasted for an hour and subsided after the police resorted to a lathi-charge and tear-gassing. Ten journalists, most of them cameramen, are recovering in different hospitals in the city. Seven lawyers and 30 policemen were also injured.
"They attacked me with huge stones, they tried to take away my camera," said Mr Nagesh, a reporter with a local TV channel.
The lawyers say this was their protest against what they describe as one-sided coverage of their strike in January. Lawyers had blocked one of the main roads near the city centre to protest against police assault against a colleague. The protest had led to a seven-hour traffic nightmare in the heart of Bangalore, provoking extensive media coverage.
Former minister Janardhana Reddy, arrested for illegal mining by the firms he owns in Bellary, was being brought to court today, ensuring a huge turnout of reporters.
Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda says a judicial inquiry will identify those responsible for the worst of the violence. The police is using the footage of news channels to find the culprits. Section 144 which bans people from assembling in groups has been imposed in the court area which is meters away from the Vidhan Soudha.