Lawyers attacked on the streets, in police stations, inside courtrooms

A 65-year-old lawyer in Ujjain was beaten inside the courtroom in front of the judge. In Indore, an advocate found out that his junior for three months was actually a policeman. The police in Thiruvananthapuram arrested a 43-year-old lawyer. The common thread in the stories of all these lawyers is that they represent Muslim men accused of being terrorists or members of SIMI. It's not just the system that has turned their back on them, even the legal defence of a terror suspect is seen as a betrayal of the nation with lawyers facing hostility and attacks on the streets, in police stations and inside courtrooms.

NOOR MOHAMMAD, UJJAIN

In 2008, Noor Mohammad went to Dhar district in 2008 to represent a few alleged SIMI activists. "The bar association there had passed a resolution saying they would neither allow any lawyer from their bar to represent these suspects nor let anybody come from outside." He was at the entrance of the court, Mohammad says, when a group of BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal activists started beating him. "I somehow ran inside the court. I told the magistrate about the attack. He did not say anything. By then, lawyers inside the courtroom started kicking and pushing me. The magistrate did ask them to stop. But they didn't and the magistrate sahib didn't take any action."

Three months later, Mohammad says, he went to Dhar again to pursue the bail application of his clients because the prosecution had not filed government sanction within the stipulated time. "The prosecution submitted the sanction as soon as they saw me and our bail plea was rejected. As I was leaving, a large group of Sangh activists beat me up. They hit me on my head and I fell unconscious... At the hospital, the police offered to take me home to Ujjain under their protection. They said Sangh activists would come and attack me inside the hospital as well,'' he said. "I went to the police station and wrote a complaint. The police filed an FIR. I don't know whether anybody was arrested or not. They (police) didn't tell me anything."

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