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Attack on Advocate: Lawyers on protest; demand ouster of accused police officer

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From Our Legal Correspondent

Thiruvanathapuram: The Trivandrum Bar Association is up in arms against Kollam police against its “brutality” on a lawyer from the Kollam Bar.  Advocate Panampil Jayakumar, a senior lawyer of over two decades standing was “ mercilessly” beaten up by the local police at the local station in Karunagapally about 20 kilometers north of Kollam town.  The incident happened on 5th of this month, a day prior to the Onam celebrations. As per information, the lawyer was picked up on an offence relating to a motor vehicle accident.

Advocate Panampil Jayakumar

Expressing solidarity to the “victim” the practicing lawyers of the districts are today boycotting all courts in Thiruvananthapuram District, said Advocate Anayara Shaji, President, Trivandrum Bar Association. Lawyers of all courts in Kollam district are also on protest and there was a skirmish between the Police and the lawyers in the district court premises in Kollam and police registered cases against 65 lawyers on various charges.

Expressing the anguish on the increasing police atrocities on “innocent lawyers and others” Shaji told this correspondent, “We will never tolerate any high-handedness of police against our fraternity. As lawyers we are destined to protect and preserve justice.”  Elaborating the incident that led to the police onslaught on the Kollam lawyer, Shaji said “the charges leveled against our colleague Jayakumar are false and fabricated. The officer of the Karunagapally who physically assaulted the advocate was nursing grudges against the victim. The Khakhi uniform is not any license to harass or assault the innocents.“

Reiterating the Associations resolve to “fight the high-handedness and brutality” of the police, Advocate Shaji affirmed, “we seldom tolerate any onslaught or injustice to our brother lawyers.  We will continue our protest and agitation until the police officer responsible for the crime against Advocate Jayakumar is properly punished. If the state administration is not taking necessary and adequate action against the said officer, we the lawyers across the state will be compelled to go on protest mode. Those in the police with criminal instincts have to be contained.”

Advocate Shaji said that a police officer attached to Karunagapally police station was instrumental in the brutal attack. “The police officer was nursing a grudge against the advocate for some time against Jayakumar and was waiting for an opportunity to book the victim.” Narrating the incident Advocate Shaji said “on the evening of 5th of this month, a day prior to the Onam festival, Advocate Jayakumar was wrongly apprehended from Karunagapally on a fabricated motor accident charge.

As per information available, the police officer accused of “assaulting” the advocate has been asked by the higher ups not to be on duty until further directions. The state administration has asked R. Nishanthini IPS, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Thiruvananthapuram Range to probe the matter and report in a week.

Trivandraum Bar Association members protesting in the District Court complex

However, the Trivandraum Bar Association, known for its extra nerve, is fully geared up to launch a state wide protest “in proper and necessary action is not taken against the accused police officer. We stand for justice.  We have the capacity and courage to fight any injustice. We are lawyers and well aware of our duties and responsibilities as officers of the court.  We know how to deal with such lumpen elements,” said Advocate Prijice Fasil, Secretary, Trivandrum Bar association.

Advocate Shaji, also a member of the state Bar Council, said that he has taken up the issue with the council for immediate action and the Council is expected to take proper and effective steps to prevent any such onslaughts in future.  Though the government is trying to mollify the agitating lawyers it is unlikely the Bar Association will settle for anything short of punishing the accused Police Officer.


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