Protesting Delhi Police personnel end stir after 11 hours

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Delhi Police personnel hold a candle light protest at Delhi Police Headquarters on Tuesday | PTI Photo

The unprecedented protest by Delhi Police personnel was called of after 11 long hours on Tuesday (November 5) night. This comes after assurances from the Lieutenant Governor and the top level police officers. The Home Ministry too on Tuesday urged the Delhi high court to clarify its Sunday’s order that restricted the police from arresting lawyers.

The battle between the Delhi police and the lawyers seems to be escalating as the striking cops refused to heed the words of their superiors to resume work. Even as the protesting police men and women continue their dharna, they continue to receive support from their counterparts in Bihar, Haryana, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Also, the IAS officers association has expressed solidarity with the striking law enforcers.

To resolve the imbroglio, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal met the top cops of the national capital. But even the re-assuring words of the L-G failed to calm frayed tempers. The L-G called upon both the lawyers and the police to work in harmony even as he promised ex-gratia payment to the injured policemen.

Also read | Lawyers of Delhi HC, district courts stir against clash with police, shun work

But the Delhi cops have placed a series of demands to withdraw their strike. Reinstating all suspended cops, compensation to injured policemen, action against advocates who went on a rampage, appeal against the Delhi high court order that restrained action against the advocates are among them.

In the evening, families of the striking cops arrived at India gate in a show of strength to the constabulary.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik urged the thousands of police personnel, who had been protesting outside his quarters, to resume work. “The government and the people expect us to uphold the law. It is our responsibility. I urge you to resume duty,” he was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Also read | Lawyers allege police firing during clash at Delhi court, cops deny

Police officers began protesting for their safety following the high court’s suspension and transfer of some police officers in connection to the clash that took place between the police and lawyers in Tis Hazari court over a parking dispute on Saturday (November 2). The violence that ensued resulted in at least 20 policemen being injured. Lawyer groups claimed that around 40 of their colleagues were injured.

The high court, which took note of this incident, ordered the transfer of two senior police officers and the suspension of two more. It also sought to provide compensation to the injured lawyers. The members of the police force were outraged that no action was taken against the lawyers.

On Monday (November 4), another incident of lawyers assaulting a policeman was reported. A video that surfaced on social media showed a group of lawyers slapping and elbowing a policeman outside the Saket court in Delhi.

Also read: Police-lawyer clash: Delhi police personnel protest assault on cops

This video provoked the rage of netizens and police claimed that the outrage soon turned to disappointment when there was no response from top officials of the Delhi Police.

However, Commissioner Patnaik said that he expected justice for the police personnel in the inquiry that was initiated by the high court. He also asked the policemen to have faith in the judicial inquiry and promised “legal action” against those who were responsible for the assault.

Two FIRs were registered on Tuesday in connection with the violence outside the Saket District Court on November 4. One FIR was filed based on the complaint given by the police officer who was thrashed by a lawyer. Another FIR was registered based on the complaint given by a taxi driver who was hit with an iron rod.

Regarding the police officers who had been suspended/transferred, Patnaik said that he was confident that those officers would be cleared by the judicial panel. Despite the reassurances of Patnaik, police officers continued their protest and raised slogans like, “Police commissioner is not on our side; he is supporting the lawyers. We want justice.”