Pandemonium in Tamil Nadu assembly over clash between police, lawyers

February 20th, 2009 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 20 (IANS) A day after violent clashes between lawyers and policemen here, over 200 lawyers were arrested and the state assembly witnessed chaotic scenes as opposition members were evicted for shouting slogans against the speaker’s decision to disallow a debate on the issue.
Speaker Auvudaiyappan enforced the assembly’s Rule 110 under which debates can’t take place as Law Minister S. Durai Murugan read out a statement blaming both the lawyers and policemen for the “unfortunate turn of events”.

Muruguan appealed for calm and said police were forced to resort to baton charge as over 25 lawyers got violent. The incident was a fallout of what had happened in the court premises Tuesday, when some lawyers threw rotten eggs at Janata Party president and senior advocate Subramanian Swamy.

Pitched battles between lawyers and police personnel were witnessed in the court premises for several hours Thursday. Police officials contended that a section of agitated lawyers demanding the arrest of the Janata Party president on the basis of their complaint pelted stones at policemen - a charge denied by the Madras High Court Advocates’ Association president S. Prabhakaran.

Speaking in the assembly, the law minister admitted that Judge Arumugha Perumal Adityan and several lawyers and policemen were injured in the clashes.

Legislators from the AIADMK, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India, MDMK, PMK and MDMK were evicted from the house following their slogan shouting and insistence on a debate.

A three-member division bench of the Madras High Court, headed by acting Chief Justice S. Mukhopadhyay, had ordered a probe into the clashes by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Police said over 200 lawyers were arrested Friday under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has also offered to meet Mukhopadhyay to discuss the issue and defuse the situation.

“You’re cooperation is very essential for me and for this government…Though I am in hospital I will come and see you in an ambulance,” Karunanidhi wrote in a letter to Mukhopadhyay. The letter was released to the media.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court posted an advance bail petition filed by movie director Seeman to Feb 26 for allegedly exhorting people to resort to armed rebellion in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in support of a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

While a police team from Puducherry is yet to arrest the director despite its presence here since Tuesday, fresh cases have been filed in police stations in the state on similar charges against Seeman who has been arrested twice already on the same charges.

A hunt has been launched for Seeman, Director General of Police K.P. Jain told IANS.

Lawyers continued to boycott courts all over Tamil Nadu protesting police action against their colleagues.

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