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Chennai lawyers, police give their versions
Published on 1 Mar. 2009 12:40 AM IST
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Lawyers and police officials Saturday blamed each other for last week’s clashes in the premises of the Madras High Court while deposing before a commission appointed by the Supreme Court to probe the incidents. While lawyers termed the baton charge on them by the police “as illegal draconian measures”, the city police commissioner listed 109 cases registered against the advocates, including violence, open support to the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and attacks on magistrates. Retired apex court judge B.N. Srikrishna, who is conducting the investigation with the assistance of two Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials, requested the lawyers to return to work pending submission of his report to the Supreme Court. However, the lawyers are sticking to their demand for the suspension of Director General of Police K.P. Jain for the attack. A police press statement said, “The commission has been told that 109 cases have been registered since 2001 against lawyers for various offences under the Indian Penal Code. Some of them have been accused of assaulting magistrates, celebrating the birthday of LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran and several acts punishable under law, including setting fire to a police station and government vehicle around the high court campus.” Meanwhile, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi appealed to lawyers boycotting courts for over a month to return to work from Monday since his government had carried out all the orders of the Supreme Court. “The government has agreed to compensate all those who suffered damages and injuries during the unfortunate violence. Therefore, lawyers should return to work,” Karunanidhi said in a statement. The government had set apart Rs.2.5 million for the commission’s expenses and an equal sum to pay for the damages to vehicles and treating injured advocates earlier this week.

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