A few minutes after receiving a PCR call about violence at Tis Hazari court, Additional DCP (North) Harendra Singh reached the complex and entered from gate number 2. There, he claimed, he found that lawyers had barged inside the court lock-up and were beating policemen of the 3rd Battalion.
“We rushed towards the lock-up and removed all lawyers… Then, we locked the door from the inside so we could save the policemen. But my operator got left outside and the lawyers started beating him up,” Singh told The Indian Express.
Initial investigation has revealed that an argument started around 2 pm, after constable Pradeep Kumar, who was deployed outside the police lock-up, asked a lawyer who had parked his Jeep there to remove the vehicle.
“After scanning the CCTV footage and recording statements of police personnel, it appears that three people came out of the Jeep… The conversation soon turned confrontational, and while other policemen joined the constable, advocates came and joined the other side,” a senior police officer said, adding that an assistant sub-inspector posted with the 3rd Battalion (ASI) fired two rounds inside the lock-up as lawyers allegedly started barging in to attack officers.
Recalling the scene, Singh claimed: “They demanded that policemen who had beaten them be handed over… But we locked the door and refused. Enraged with this, they started pelting stones… They also set a motorbike on fire at the entrance gate of the lock-up. Smoke started gathering inside the lock-up, which also had inmates. There was panic.”
“With the help of buckets of water inside, we tried to douse the fire. We were inside for over two hours and were rescued only when police personnel barged inside the court complex and used mild lathi charge,” he said.
The lawyers, meanwhile, have maintained that police used unnecessary force following the row, and that firing inside the court complex was “unacceptable”. In a statement, the Bar Council of India said: “We demand from the higher police officials of Delhi Police to immediately arrest the culprits, out them under suspension, failing which the situation will go beyond the control of the government… This incident proves the irresponsible and criminal behaviour of the police.”