An on-duty policeman was heckled and assaulted by a group of lawyers outside a district court complex in Delhi's Saket neighbourhood today. The shocking incident, filmed by a bystander on what appears to be a mobile phone camera, comes only two days after violent clashes between lawyers and cops at the city's Tis Hazari court complex left 28 people injured, 20 vehicles vandalised and forced the Delhi High Court to take suo motu cognisance of the attack and hold an emergency hearing on Sunday.
The video of today's attack shows a policeman, sitting on a motorcycle, surrounded by six lawyers. The cop is attacked by a lawyer who rams his elbow into the policeman's back, twice, before slapping him twice again and pushing him away. The cop manages to turn his bike around and is trying to drive away when the same lawyer throws a helmet that hits the motorcycle.
Tensions between lawyers and police officers have spiked since Saturday's incident, with reports of lawyers going on a rampage at lower courts across the national capital.
A group of lawyers has reportedly barricaded itself inside the Saket court, while another has clashed with police officers at Karkardooma District Court in the city's Anand Vihar area. Other reports indicate groups of lawyers have targeted members of the media, including women journalists, and public.
The Tis Hazari clash has led to lawyers in lower courts across the country, including those in Delhi, going on strike today, despite the Bar Council of India urging its members to "maintain peace and harmony and not resort to any sort of abstention or boycott".
"We are not forcing anyone... have only requested the members. Strike will be held in all the district courts from 10 am. The strike will continue till all the culprits are arrested," Jaiveer Singh Chauhan, Secretary of the Tis Hazari Bar Association, told news agency PTI on Sunday.
At the Delhi High Court's emergency hearing, lawyers representing various bar associations repeatedly criticised Delhi Police for "an assault on the judicial system".
According to police, violence at the Tis Hazari complex began when on-duty officers objected to a lawyer parking his car in front of the lockup. A police statement said a large number of advocates responded angrily to their request and that CCTV footage clearly shows lawyers forcefully entered the lockup and began manhandling the police officers.
The confrontation was similar to one in Kolkata in April, when a lawyer trying to park his motorcycle in front of a Howrah Municipal Corporation gate was allegedly roughed up by a civic employee.
The Delhi High Court has taken a dim view of the violence, ordering a judicial probe under the aegis of retired judge SP Garg. The court also transferred two senior police officers, suspended two others and ordered compensation for three injured lawyers.
With input from PTI