The Delhi Police have registered two separate cases of assault and wrongful restraint in connection with the violence against journalists, JNU students and activists in Patiala House Courts on Monday.
Both the cases were registered taking suo motu cognisance and not based on the complaints submitted by the purported victims, thus not featuring the names of suspects – a group of lawyers who attacked several journalists inside the court building and BJP MLA O.P. Sharma, who thrashed a CPI activist.
“I learnt about the scuffle at the Patiala House Courts, asked my officers to ensure appropriate legal action. We have registered two cases, one is about the alleged assault on the journalists and the second is about the violence outside the court,” said Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi.
Communist Party of India (CPI) activist Ameeque Jamai’s complaint and a viral video showing Mr. Sharma thrashing the former outside the court premises was not enough for the Delhi Police to book Mr. Sharma for assault.
Instead of acting on the complaint, the police decided to take suo-motu cognisance of what they describe as a scuffle and kept the case open ended. Mr. Bassi said the case was registered based on the complaints from both sides.
Asked about the reason behind not naming Mr. Sharma yet, Mr. Bassi said that the MLA himself claimed to have been hurt during what the police chief continued to call a “scuffle” and not a one-sided assault despite video evidence suggesting otherwise.
Mr. Sharma, who has thus far claimed that he hit Mr. Jamai in self-defence, even went on to say that he would shoot anyone who would hit him.
Mr. Sharma told PTI the photo of a person, who wore a jacket and beat up some persons, was not him, but TV channels and newspapers were naming him for it.
Mr. Bassi justified the police action by claiming there were claims and counter-claims from both sides and “investigations would decide the future course” of the probe.
Asked why the provision of criminal conspiracy has not been included in the case of assault on journalists, who have claimed the incident was pre-planned, Mr. Bassi said the allegations were being looked into.
Mr. Bassi once again played down the issue of heavy police presence not coming to the rescue of those being attacked at the Patiala House Courts and maintained that the issue pertained to people from “two different lines of thought” confronting each other in a charged environment.
However, he assured that the police would probe whether there was any negligence on part of any police personnel present at the venue, though there are several videos clearly showing that was indeed the case.