Not a dinner party
Sunday’s reponse of the police to protesters shows exactly the kind of indifference to the safety of ordinary people that the people are protesting about.
TOI reports an attempt by the police to turn the discussion around:
Special commissioner of police (law and order) Dharmendra Kumar blamed “hooligans” for the violence during protests against the gang rape of 23- year-old girl in a moving bus last Sunday night and said unruly elements have “hijacked” peaceful demonstrations.
Delhi Police in its report to Union home ministry said that some “vested interests” had joined the protesters and were instigating violence.
Protesters led by yoga guru Ramdev and former Army chief V K Singh clashed with police at Jantar Mantar on Sunday afternoon when they were prevented from marching towards India Gate.
Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia sat on a dharna near Hyderabad House on Ashoka Road, close to India Gate.
The youth outfit of BJP also took part in the protests.
The police action seemed to be too heavy-handed for politicians to stomach. NDTV reported:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who met Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, blamed the Delhi Police for the breakdown in law and order.
But among the most disturbing turn of events was an illegal motion by a body of lawyers. Punjab News Line reported:
Amid a wave of protests against the incident, the lawyers’ body at Saket district courts here passed a resolution urging advocates not to represent any accused in the case as the offence committed allegedly by them was “inhuman and barbaric”.
In the context of the protests, it is good to remember a well-thought out judgment by the Supreme Court reported by IE on Deccember 7, before the problems started:
The Supreme Court has ruled lawyers or their associations cannot refuse to appear for accused whether they are terrorist, rapists, murderers or any others as such refusal would be a violation of the Constitution, Bar Council norms and tenets of the Bhagavad Gita.
A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra in an order deplored the growing tendency among bar associations across the country to pass resolutions against appearing for certain accused persons for some reason or the other.
Clearly two things need to be set in order: Indian politics and Indian law enforcement. There have been protests about politics ever since the telecom scandal broke. This time the protests are against Indian law enforcement. Unfortunately, spontaneous and unplanned protests are often taken over by parties who ride the bandwagon for reasons of their own. This happened most famously during the anti-emergency movement of 1975.