After Assurances, Delhi Cops Call Off Nearly 11-Hour Protest
Several policemen held placards that read “We are human in police uniforms” and “Protectors Need Protection”.
In unprecedented protests by Delhi police, thousands of its personnel on Tuesday, 5 November, laid siege outside the Police Headquarters for 11 hours and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks on their colleagues before calling of their stir following multiple appeals, including from their chief.
The protests in which families of the personnel also took to streets were withdrawn in the night after an assurance by senior officers that their grievances will be addressed.
What Sparked The Protests?
The protests were triggered by the two attacks on their colleagues, one on Monday outside Saket District Court and another on Saturday at the Tis Hazari Courts Complex after a parking dispute between an on-duty policeman and a lawyer which led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured.
Two FIRs were registered against unidentified persons, who were seen in a video hitting a uniformed policeman on a motorcycle with his elbow and slapping him outside the Saket court.
A Supreme Court on lawyer serves a legal notice to Commissioner of Police, Delhi for, "not taking action against the Delhi Police Forces and their officials, who actively participated in the demonstration on November 5 in front of Police Headquarters, ITO."
What Assurances Did the Top Cops Make?
Addressing the protesters, Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) Satish Golcha urged them to end their stir and resume duty, while assuring them that a review petition will be filed against the Delhi High Court order in connection with a clash between cops and lawyers at the Tis Hazari Courts Complex.
Golcha said the injured policemen will get an ex-gratia of at least Rs 25,000.
Devesh Shrivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (South) said that the policemen who have been injured are being treated. He also said that no departmental action will be taken against the policemen who were protesting.
“All your demands will be accepted. FIRs have also been registered in connection with Saket and Tis Hazari Court incidents.”Devesh Shrivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (South)
Delhi Police has a strength of over 80,000 personnel.
Ordering a judicial inquiry by one of its retired judges into the clash, the high court at a special sitting on 3 November suspended a police official and transferred two senior police officials during pendency of the investigations.
What Were the Protesters Demanding?
Delhi Police's protesting personnel on Tuesday demanded that the licences of lawyers who assaulted their colleagues be revoked and the transfer of the officers involved in the Tis Hazari clash last week be rescinded.
"We also want a police association, provide better treatment to injured policemen, reinstate suspended police personnel. Strict action should be taken against advocates and the FIR," said one of the protesters, reading out the list of demands, PTI reported.
Centre Unhappy But ‘Sympathetic’ to Grievances
As the protests escalated, the Centre was understood to be unhappy over the manner in which it was held in violation of service conduct even though, according to an official, it is sympathetic to their grievances.
"There may be genuine grievances of the police but they have to be raised through proper channel. We can't allow a disciplined force to develop a mob mentality," a senior official explained.
The Centre also rushed to the Delhi High Court urging it that its order for no coercive action against advocates, passed on Sunday following the lawyers-police clash at Tis Hazari court, should not be applicable for subsequent incidents.
Dentify Lawyers Indulging in Hooliganism: Bar Council
The Bar Council of India asked various bar bodies to identify lawyers "indulging in hooliganism" and requested advocates to end their protests, which are "bringing bad name to the institution".
BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said in a letter that sparing such "rowdy elements" is tarnishing the image of the institution and it is the inaction and tolerance of bar bodies that encourage these advocates, which would ultimately result in "contempt proceedings by the high courts or Supreme Court".
What Are Politicians Saying?
As the protests continued, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the Delhi government wants an immediate solution to the police-lawyer standoff and termed the prevailing situation "unfortunate".
Lieutenant General Anil Baijal also reviewed the situation.
"In the wake of the recent unfortunate incident, it is imperative to restore the trust between the two and also to ensure that justice is done impartially in the entire matter," said a statement quoting Baijal.
The Congress seized upon the police protests to target the Centre, saying it is a "new low" for India since Independence and shows Home Minister Amit Shah's "failure of leadership". It alleged that law and order has collapsed in the national capital.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed this is the first time such an atmosphere is prevailing in the country where the Delhi Police has gheraoed the Police Headquarters.
The incidents drew sharp criticism from senior police officials who took to Twitter to register their discontent.
Nationwide Police Stands in Solidarity
The IPS Association took to Twitter and condemned the incident involving alleged assaults on policemen.
The Tamil Nadu chapter of IPS association also came out in support of the protesting Delhi policemen.
The Karnataka chapter of IPS association also condemned the incident.
The IAS Association also condemned the “cowardly action” and said that it stood in solidarity with their colleagues.
The Himachal Pradesh chapter of the IPS Association condemned violence against police personnel at the Tis Hazari Court in Delhi and expressed complete solidarity with them.
What is Delhi HC Saying?
The Delhi high court Sunday took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of media reports of the clash between lawyers and policemen at Tis Hazari court complex and said that Justice (retd) SP Garg, a former judge of the court, would hold a judicial inquiry into the matter.
It directed the Delhi police commissioner to transfer Special Commissioner Sanjay Singh and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harinder Singh during the pendency of the inquiry and made it clear that no coercive action would be taken against any lawyer.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)
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