An alleged assault of a lawyer, S. Anandeswaran, by police personnel at Thudialyur police station here on Friday, snowballed into a protest by lawyers in the city on Monday.

Over 250 lawyers staged a sit-in at the District Police Office here to demand the arrest of five police personnel involved in the assault.

Despite Collector M. Karunakaran's assurance that the case would be transferred to the Crime Branch-CID, the lawyers did not relent on their demand that the police personnel be arrested immediately.

After discussions with the City Police Commissioner Amaresh Pujari and Inspector-General of Police (West Zone) K. Vanniyaperumal, the Collector said the authorities would need two more days to go through the formalities.

Mr. Anandeswaran was said to have gone to the police station in connection with a dispute over vacating a house. He alleged that Sub-Inspector Renuka Devi, head constable Gopalakrishnan and constables Chinnaraj, Mohammed Ismail and Suji assaulted him.

Based on his complaint, the Thudiyalur police on Saturday registered a case under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapons), 294 (b) (uttering obscene words in public place), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

On Monday, even the Collector's offer of an inquiry by the Revenue Divisional Officer was turned down.

Led by Coimbatore Bar Association president P. Nandakumar, they demanded that the arrest and remand be done forthwith.

No headway

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Coimbatore Range, B. Bala Naga Devi, Superintendent of Police (Coimbatore Rural) E.S. Uma, and District Revenue Officer Karpagam also held talks with the protestors, but these made no headway. Deputy Commissioners of Police T. Senthil Kumar (Crime and Traffic) and Hema Karunakaran (Law and Order) were also present.

A strong posse of police personnel was posted at the offices of the City Police Commissioner, Inspector General of Police (West Zone) and the Superintendent of Police.

Earlier in the day, the Coimbatore Bar Association held an emergency general body meeting and passed three resolutions: court boycott until the arrest and remand of five police personnel, not to allow police personnel inside the court premises until the arrest and file a writ petition demanding CBI inquiry into the incident.

A group of students from the Government Law College at Marudamalai also joined the protest and tried to force their way into the SP's office. Twenty-three other students were removed when they attempted to block traffic at Thadagam Road-Cowley Brown Road-Marudamalai Road junction.

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