A large number of journalists scuffled with security personnel and lawyers at the Saket court complex on Tuesday after they were prevented from entering the courtroom where the verdict in the December 16 gangrape case was pronounced.
More than 200 journalists from the print and electronic media had gathered outside the courtroom. At around 11 am,they were told that the verdict would come at 12.30 pm. The journalists lost their cool after being told by the police that only those journalists whose names figured in a list provided to them would be allowed inside the courtroom.
The journalists protested but the police stuck to the list of accredidated journalists one each from every organisation would be allowed inside the courtroom,they were told. The list had been submitted earlier by a petitioner,who had approached the High Court for permission to cover the trial.
Fights broke out as the journalists tried to get past the security outside the courtroom. For nearly 10 minutes,there was chaos,exchange of abuses and fisticuffs as the journalists fought among themselves,the police and court employees. Irked by the commotion,angry lawyers too joined the scuffle.
Minutes before the accused were brought inside the court,the police used long ropes to prevent journalists and lawyers from spilling on to the porch leading to the courtroom. Policemen refused to let anyone cross the rope. Amidst the chaos,two journalists exchanged blows while trying to get to the doors of the courtroom.
The parents of both the victim and accused Mukesh were swiftly escorted inside the courtroom by the police through a back door,making it impossible for the journalists to interview them. As policemen threw a ring around them after the verdict,it was impossible for any journalist to catch a glimpse of them or get their comments.
As the verdict was pronounced,members of the December 16 Kranti Sena protested near the gates of the court complex. A mock hanging was also enacted by the protesters demanding death for the accused. When the court reserved the sentencing for Wednesday,the protesters said they would return the next day.
In the morning,the police had fortified the court complex. Everyone entering the court was thoroughly frisked,resulting in a 500m-long queue at the gates of the complex. Traffic police personnel,out in strength outside,had a tough time managing the traffic because of the presence of numerous OB vans and protesters. Unlike other days,the entry of vehicles inside the court complex was restricted and only lawyers were allowed to take their cars inside.