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Hooligans with law degrees: Patiala house lawyers assault JNU students, journalists [UPDATE-3]

Four journalists, including one from IANS, and some JNU students were assaulted at a court here on Monday by a section of lawyers.

IANS reporter Amiya Kumar Kushwaha was slapped inside a court room while some other journalists were attacked within the court premises by lawyers shouting "Bharat Mata ki Jai" slogans.

The incident took place just before the president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), Kanhaiya Kumar, who has been arrested on charges of sedition, was to be brought to the court.

IANS' Kushwaha said he was slapped repeatedly by some lawyers.

"I don't know who hit me or why they hit me. I started to run from the courtroom. Fortunately, some lawyers who knew me protected me from further assault," Kushwaha told IANS.

Indian Express reporter Alok Singh told IANS that he and a group of journalists were standing outside the courtroom when some lawyers pounced on JNU students there and began thrashing them.

"As I started speaking to my chief reporter, the lawyers attacked me too. I kept telling them I was a journalist but they wouldn't listen," he said.

"They slapped me, they kicked me, they snatched my mobile and broke it. And I saw others also being attacked for no apparent reason."

Kushwaha said he was attacked inside the courtroom where he was awaiting the arrival of Kanhaiya Kumar, who was arrested for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans at a meeting on Kashmir in the JNU campus on February 9.

Kanhiaya Kumar, who is with the CPI-affiliated All India Students Federation (AISF), has denied the charge.

Among the other journalists who were attacked in the court premises were Amit Pandey of IBN7 and Azaan from DNA.

Journalists also saw O.P. Sharma, one of the three BJP legislators in the Delhi assembly, chasing and hitting a JNU student outside the court.

Earlier, scuffles broke out as the protesting lawyers shouting "Bharat Mata ki Jai" ordered the JNU students and journalists out of the courtroom as well as the court premises. No reasons were assigned.

Some JNU students said that lawyers shouting "Long Live India, Down with JNU" physically forced them out of the court premises.

The violence took place despite a large police presence in the court complex in the heart of the capital.

Yesterday, a WhatsApp message was circulated in Hindi to Patiala House bar association Lawyers, reported the Indian Express:

“All of you are welcome at the Patiala House court on Monday morning. Peacefully, we will teach these anti-nationals a lesson as per the law. The conspiracy of breaking the unity of the country that they have hatched at the Ganga dhaba, we will demolish that at the Patiala House court, and we will show what it takes to be a patriot.”

Lawyers have locked up 4-5 journalists inside a courtroom and these journalists are being slapped and punched for being JNU supporters #JNU

NDTV has a video of the altercation, while the New Indian Express reported:

“I am not even a JNU student. We are peacefully waiting for him. Some 6-7 lawyers, started pointing towards us and then they abused and called us Pakistanis,” said one of the eye-witnesses.

“These lawyers thrashed a journalist. I saw them beating him up brutally. They were saying that it is not the court but them who will decide the matter,” said another person present at the court.

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