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#PatialaHouseViolence: SC team's report damns Delhi Police

Saurav Datta | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:48 IST

The Delhi Police is in trouble. A report released by the Supreme Court's commissioners indicts it of failing to contain the violence at the Patiala House Court complex.

Just yesterday, the apex court had told the police to answer for not acting against the lawyers who had attacked students and journalists at the court complex on 15 and 17 February.

Also read - #PatialaHouseViolence: SC demands answers from lawyers, cops, Centre

The report, which was released to the media today, details how a mob of 30 lawyers beat up Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU student union leader arrested for sedition, while the police stood by watching.

How did a mob get into the court and attack Kanhaiya despite SC's orders? DCP Jatin Narwal won't say

It was prepared by the commissioners - five senior advocates and the Delhi High Court's Registrar General - the Supreme Court had sent to "assess and report back" on the situation at the Patiala House Court in the wake of the violence. But even they were heckled and abused there.

The report includes a transcript of video interviews they did with various people at the court, including Kanhaiya and police officers. The transcript reveals some chilling details about the violence, for example that even the policemen escorting Kanhaiya were attacked with blades.

Also read - Kanhaiya Kumar attacked by lawyers; SC rushes team to Patiala Court

Damning testimony

(Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty  Images). JNU students, professors and CPI party  mem

Photo: Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

When grilled by senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal and Rajiv Dhavan, DSP Jatin Narwal, the highest-ranking officer responsible for the security of Kanhaiya and his lawyers, stammers, fumbles for answers and gives evasive replies.

He, in fact, disputes that the attack took place at the court: "Nahin, yeh hamla court ke andar nahin hua tha."

Dave: When Kanhaiya had identified his lead attacker, why did you not arrest him?

Narwal: No Sir, we did not know who he is.

Dave: What did you not know?

Silence.

Dave: Aapne lathicharge kyon nahin ki? Kya aapki zimmedari nahin hai?

Silence.

In the wake of the attacks, the Supreme Court had on 16 February laid down specific directions regarding Kanhaiya's safety while his remand proceedings were being conducted at the Patiala House Court. It had specified that only five lawyers and six journalists should be allowed inside the court.

Then how was it that on 17 February, a mob of lawyers and other identified persons managed to get in and attack Kanhaiya with abandon? Narwal, who admits to being aware of the court's directions, fails to provide a convincing answer.

The transcript also contains a damning indictment of the police by Vrinda Grover, Kanhaiya's counsel. Grover claims that she "repeatedly requested" the police to ensure security for Kanhaiya, but they fobbed her off.

SC commissioners' report: Even the cops escorting Kanhaiya Kumar were attacked with blades by the mob

"The highest security officer in charge of security, the DCP, did nothing. The policemen only said, "Haan, haan" and did nothing," she claims.

Moreover, she alleges that the police had 5-10 minutes to prevent the lawyers from running riot, but they did nothing.

The Registrar General claims he had repeatedly asked Narwal and 12 other policemen to arrest a man who was leading the attack on Kanhaiya but they let him escape instead.

The Delhi police has to reply to the Supreme Court's questions on its inaction at the Patiala House Court, on 4 March. In light of this report, it'll likely have a tough time explaining its conduct.

More in Catch - SC to hear JNU student Kanhaiya Kumar's bail plea on Friday

Bar Council apologises for lawyers involved in violence at Patiala House Court

JNU row: Vikram Chauhan is no less than a hero for his Patiala House Court comrades

Lawyer who assaulted Kanhaiya outside Patiala House Court arrested, released on bail

First published: 28 February 2016, 1:29 IST
 
Saurav Datta @SauravDatta29

Saurav Datta works in the fields of media law and criminal justice reform in Mumbai and Delhi.

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