“Is there a Government in Karnataka? Whom is it protecting?”

Justice K.L. Manjunath of the High Court asked these questions to Home Minister R. Ashok when he came to the High Court to meet Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen in connection with Friday's violence at the City Civil Court complex.

Addressing the members of the Bangalore Advocates' Association on the High Court premises in the evening, Justice Manjunath said: “We have asked the Home Minister whether there is a Government in Karnataka…and also on maintenance of law and order…”

He, along with two other High Court judges, rushed to the City Civil Court complex around 1 p.m. to assess the situation and to see the damage to vehicles and court properties.

Police contacted

“We saw the police force inside the court. I called up the Police Commissioner and requested him to withdraw the force from the court building…I also called the Director-General and Inspector-General of Police and the Home Minister and requested them to withdraw the police stating that we would control the lawyers…,” Justice Manjunath told the advocates.

He said though senior police officers informed him that instructions had been given to withdraw the police force from the court building, the police personnel did not budge and continued to use their batons. He and his colleagues had taken up the matter with the Home Minister when he came to the High Court.

Patience advised

Justice Manjunath, while seeking forbearance from members of the bar, asked them to complain about the damage to properties and injuries caused to the lawyers.

Justice H.N. Nagamohan Das, who visited the court complex, told lawyers they had nothing to fear. “We should remember that violence cannot be won by violence. We must have patience,” he said.