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Chief Thakur sends in Kurian Joseph to sort out Kerala violence between journalists, lawyers

The tiff between the media and the lawyers community in Kerala appears to have been resolved with the intervention of Chief Justice of India TS Thakur who held talks with representatives of the journalists in the national capital on Friday.

While expressing concern about the issues between the two sets of professionals which saw things turning violent at Kochi and the Kerala capital in the past few days, the CJI asked his colleague Justice Kurian Joseph to sort out things with the acting Chief Justice of the Kerala high court Thottathil B Radhakrishnan.

Joseph had on Thursday itself set the ball rolling, asking two senior judges of the Kerala high court - PN Ravindran and PR Ramachandra Menon - to sort out things.

The issue began early this week after media reports that a government pleader had misbehaved with a woman. The lawyers claimed that the pleader was falsely implicated and police and media are hand in glove in the conspiracy.

On Tuesday and Wednesday things went out of hand in Kochi, when clashes took place between the two groups, while a clash also occurred in the state capital on Thursday and Kerala Police by now have registered half a dozen cases.

One Kerala lawyer, writing in an account on LiveLaw, said that journalists had begun protesting first and begun pelting stones, injuring an advocate, leaving the lawyers little chance but to strike:

While the police refused to help them to have passage, the protesters brutally attacked the advocate and advocate clerk on the scooter. The advocate is now admitted in the hospital awaiting a plastic surgery while this article is written. Lawyers who rushed to his assistance were manhandled first by the media persons. Soon the police jerked in to a lathi charge. No announcement, no warning, nothing. The lathi charge was specifically directed against the lawyers and not against the so called protesters who were creating the road block. Lawyers in robes were beat up brutally resulting in serious injuries to many advocates. Many are still in hospital.

Following the clashes, angry lawyers decided to close down the media rooms at the high court and at the Thiruvananthapuram district court.

Consequent to these incidents, normal court activities were affected in the high court and a few district courts but following the intervention of the senior judges who held discussions with the rival groups, things appeared to have cooled down.

“All the courts will function normally from tomorrow onwards (Saturday) as all the issues have been settled,” Justice Ravindran told reporters after the conciliation talks held separately with the two groups in the capital city.

Journalists also expressed happiness that issues are being sorted out and a committee will now be appointed consisting of the media and lawyers to see that things go on smoothly.

Chief Justice Thakur had also assured the media representatives that the media room will be opened at the high court, which has been closed since trouble broke out.

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