Kanhaiya was badly beaten up, Supreme Court told

Thousands of people took out a march from Mandi House to Parliament Street in New Delhi on Thursday insolidarity with JNU students protesting against the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

“We could have been beaten black and blue. We barely escaped with our lives,” senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan told the Supreme Court on Thursday. He was recounting the “atmosphere of terror” at the Patiala House court complex on Wednesday as a mob dressed in lawyer’s black robes unleashed violence despite the Supreme Court’s restraining order.

Mr. Dhawan was part of the six-member team of senior lawyers handpicked by a Supreme Court Bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and A.M. Sapre to visit the court complex where the hearing of a sedition case against JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar was scheduled to be heard by the metropolitan magistrate on Wednesday afternoon. The team’s report was submitted to the Supreme Court Bench in sealed covers on Thursday.

Six lawyers appearing in the sedition case, journalists and Mr. Kumar’s university friends were trapped inside the courtroom, along with the Magistrate hearing the case, after violence broke out on the premises. Around this time, the team of senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Harin Rawal, Mr. Dhawan, Dushyant Dave, along with the Delhi High Court’s counsel A.D.N. Rao and the police counsel Ajit Sinha, arrived at the court complex as directed by the Supreme Court. “As we went in there, we saw a crowd of such proportion we have never seen before. It was unprecedented. They were in robes... even our police cordon was broken with people pushing at us,” Mr. Dhawan orally told the court after the team returned a few hours later.

Mr. Rawal had his mobile phone camera switched on, recording all that happened around him. He handed the electronic evidence to the court along with the team’s report.

Mr. Dhawan spoke of the team’s meeting with Mr. Kumar inside the court complex. “He was thoroughly, totally beaten up and was waiting for a medical examination,” the senior lawyer said. “We were told of an incident that happened a short while earlier. A man in dark glasses came into the room, sat down, removed his glasses, walked up to Kumar and hit him before leaving the room, as senior police officers watched,” Mr. Dhawan said.

“The Delhi High Court Registrar General, in front of us, asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police present in the room why he did not stop that man. We also asked the officer if he knew of the Supreme Court’s order restricting entry. He said yes, but did not say why the man in the dark glasses was not detained,” Mr. Dhawan said.

Mr. Dhawan said they found the presiding Magistrate in a “tearful condition.”

“We realised that there was a very serious threat to the life of the accused,” Mr. Dhawan told the court.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 1:53:22 AM |

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