Lawyers display kolaveri, police show timidity

Passengers have to wait for long hours in the BMTC bus on K.G. Road nearly seven hours due to Advocates protest in Bangalore on 17, January, 2012. Photo:V Sreenivasa Murthy  

As hundreds of lawyers staged an impromptu anti-police protest on Tuesday on Kempe Gowda Road, policemen at the spot were mere bystanders even as protestors blocked traffic, mightily inconveniencing the general public.

Throughout the seven-hour protest, the helplessness of the more than 100 policemen gathered there was evident when, around 6 p.m., a water cannon summoned to disperse the crowd remained unused as advocates surrounded it and attempted to assault the driver; or when, Deputy Commissioners of Police and Police Inspectors were pushed around by a group of advocates.

Scuffles break out

The protest at Cauvery Bhavan and Mysore Bank Circle stopped all traffic, leading to scuffles between motorists and advocates. Both groups vented their ire on the police. “What are the police waiting for? If it was the common man protesting like this, they would have lathi-charged them,” said R.M. Ashok, who had been stuck at the junction for three hours.

The police, on their part, sat on their hands. And the reason behind this seems to be the fear of the matter being taken to court. A senior police official said around a decade ago, when the police had used force to disperse a group of agitating advocates, the lawyers had filed cases against officers who had ordered the use of batons. “The issue will become bigger than it already is. They will take the matter to court, and police officials will have to justify the use of force — something that may take a long time to resolve,” said the official.

Asked why the police hesitated to use force against the advocates, Bangalore City Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothiprakash Mirji said: “We will consider action on a case-by-case basis. Different circumstances require different types of reaction.”

The protest, which was carried out without permission, virtually paralysed traffic flow in the Kempe Gowda bus-stand area. Several BMTC buses, carrying hundreds of passengers, too were stranded on K.G. Road and Palace Road, disrupting bus schedules.

The traffic police, who diverted traffic away from the area, continuously send SMSs advising motorists to “strictly avoid” Minerva Circle, Town Hall Junction, Hudson Circle and K.G. Road due to “heavy traffic congestion”.

Conceding that the impromptu protest was an offence under several sections of Indian Penal Code, including unlawful congregation under Section 141, police officials said that no cases would be booked against the advocates.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 11:10:49 PM |

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