New Delhi: Two groups of lawyers on Wednesday scuffled within the Patiala House court complex here while supporting or opposing students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who have been booked on the charge of raising anti-India slogans.
The showdown took place in the court premises before JNU Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar was to be presented in a court for hearing of the sedition case registered against him. Kumar's police custody ends on Wednesday.
A section of lawyers carrying Indian flags shouted slogans like 'Bharat mata ki jai' and 'JNU murdabad'. They also shouted slogans against the JNU and demanded shutting down of the premier educational institution, terming it "anti-national".
The Supreme Court had, earlier in the day, restricted the number of people inside the courtroom, allowing only five reporters and two supporters of the arrested students to attend the hearing. This comes as open defiance of Supreme Court order, a group of men dressed in lawyers' robes today again barged into the Patiala House court complex and allegedly beat up a journalist and a student ahead of the hearing in the sedition case of JNU students' union President Kanhaiya Kumar.
The group, which could be seen raising slogans "Vande Mataram" and waving India's flag in the court premises, was led by Vikram Chauhan, one of the lawyers who had attacked JNU students and faculty on February 15.
The lawyers also manhandled and beat up Tarique Anwar, of the Firstpost , who was covering the protests. Tarique Anwar said that despite heavy police deployment, clashes erupted in the court complex and the cops' presence did not deter the lawyers from shouting slogans and fighting with journalists and students.
On the other hand, a group of lawyers protesting against Kanhaiya Kumar's arrest demanded his immediate release. Kumar was arrested after anti-India slogans were raised at an event held on the JNU campus to commemorate parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's execution on 9 February.
The apex court had acted on a petition that alleged that the police were a "mute spectator to the brazen display of brute force" on 15 February.
On Monday, groups of lawyers had beaten up journalists and JNU students and teachers ahead of the hearing of the sedition case registered against Kumar.
On Tuesday, top editors of national media and hundreds of journalists had hit the streets demanding action against those involved in beating up members of their fraternity in the court complex in police presence. The journalists had also sought Supreme Court's intervention in protecting freedom of speech.
with inputs from agencies