The National Human Rights Commission on Friday issued notice to the West Bengal director general of police in connection with a clash between lawyers and civic staff at Howrah on Wednesday. Citing media reports, the panel said 20 people, including lawyers and civic body staff, suffered injuries to the head in alleged police action.
The commission sought a report within four weeks, including action taken against the “delinquent police personnel” and health status of those who were injured in the clash, according to a statement. “It has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise serious issue of violation of human rights of the victims, who have sustained injuries in the incident,” the human rights panel said. “Apparently, the police personnel did not deal the situation in proper manner which resulted in humiliation and physical injuries to the victims.”
The clash broke out after an altercation between an elderly lawyer and a man guarding a gate of the civic headquarters around 10.30 am on Wednesday, The Telegraph had reported. The Howrah Municipal Corporation compound is frequently used to park vehicles for free by many commuters. On the day of the clash, witnesses said guards at the three gates of the compound had been stopping outsiders from entering the property with their vehicles.
When the elderly lawyer was allegedly stopped from entering the compound, other lawyers from the court rushed to the spot. Employees of the civic body’s conservancy department alleged that a group of lawyers had attacked them, but the latter alleged that a civic guard had insulted their elderly colleague. Both sides reportedly hurled pelted stones and bricks at each other.
Police and Rapid Action Force personnel resorted to lathi-charge and fired tear gas shells.
The Bar Council of West Bengal observed a black day on Friday reportedly demanding action against the police personnel, according to Live Law. Members of the bar resolved to stay away from work till April 29 in solidarity with the lawyers in Howrah.