Prashant Bhushan attacked, one held

October 12th, 2011 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) Senior lawyer and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan was bashed up by three youths in his Supreme Court chamber here Wednesday. He blamed the assault, captured by a TV crew, on the right-wing outfit Sri Ram Sene. One of the attackers was held.

Three youths stormed into Bhushan’s chamber and one of them, identified as Inder Verma, started beating him up. Verma, later on, was overpowered by lawyers and others present in the room, TV visuals showed. The youths said they objected to his comments on Kashmir, Bhushan said later.

“The accused, Inder Verma, has been arrested from the Supreme Court premises and his two accomplices — Vishnu Gupta and Tejender Pal — are on the run,” said a senior police official.

“They were Sri Ram Sene activists. They are intolerant,” a visibly shaken Bhushan told IANS. He has lodged a first information report with police.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram, condemning the attack, said: “Nobody has the right to take law in their hands and I have asked Delhi Police to take appropriate action against the people involved in the attack.”

Inder Verma, who is said to be Sri Ram Sene’s Delhi unit president, told reporters: “We had gone to seek his response about his statement on Kashmir. He had talked about giving away Kashmir to Pakistan, which we we strongly protest. It’s an insult to martyrs and this will not be tolerated in India.”

Sri Ram Sene, a Karnataka based right-wing outfit, has taken the responsibility for the attack.

“Comments made by Prashant Bhushan on Jammu and Kashmir were anti-national and anyone who makes such comments will not be spared,” Shri Ram Sene’s state unit general secretary Tushar Agarwal told IANS.

TV channel TIMES NOW, which showed visuals of the incident, said its crew was with Prashant Bhushan at the time for his comments on the Lokpal bill.

Bhushan was taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where doctors said he has not received major injuries.

“He was brought here at 5.15 p.m. for a preliminary medical examination. There are no major injuries as of now, but a team of doctors from medicine, orthopaedic, and emergency are attending on him,” a senior doctor from the RML Hospital told IANS.

Two weeks ago, Bhushan had gone to Varanasi where during a press conference he was asked if he would favour a referendum in Kashmir. To this, he replied there could be a referendum. It is this comment that angered the group, Bhushan said.

The attack was widely condemned.

Anna Hazare condemned the attack on Bhushan, who is a key member of his team, and demanded security for his aides for “some time.”

“I condemn the attack in the strongest terms. This is not the way. This is not right. The youths should not take law into their hands,” Hazare told reporters in Ralegan-Siddhi in Maharashtra.

Veteran lawyer Shanti Bhushan, the father of Prashant Bhushan, said: “I don’t mind if any attack takes place on our men. I will still keep on doing right things. Those who are afraid and fearful will never be able to do correct things.”

“No words are enough to describe this barbaric act. Strictest punishment should be given to these people and the true identity of these people should be found,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Condemning the attack, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJ) spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said: “It is very shameful and the BJP condemns it. Whatever is the due process of law, it should be taken on this. This kind of misconduct cannot be justified under any circumstances.”

Team Anna member Kiran Bedi said: “The attack shows how intolerant society has become, how desperate we become if anybody has a dissenting voice.”

The Sri Ram Sene had shot to notoriety in 2009 for attacking in Karnataka young women in restaurants and young couples in parks, and for opposing Valentine’s Day on the ground that it was against Indian culture.

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