On Wednesday, as many as 1200 lawyers under the banner of the Jamshedpur Bar Association went on strike to protest against the arbitrary action taken by the Jamshedpur police against their fellow lawyer Chandan Choubey on Monday.
Notably, the lawyer in question, Chandan Chowbey, who is also a VHP member, was arrested with seven other VHP leaders namely Anirudh Giri, Chandan Das, Bhola Lohar, Bhim Yadav, Kanhaiya Pandey, Shankar Rao and Rajesh Choubey. Choubey was reportedly handcuffed, like a hardcore criminal, when he was produced in the court before being sent to jail.
The action was taken when they went to the office of SSP Prabhat Kumar to submit a memorandum concerning the arrest made post the violent clashes that occurred on Sunday in Jamshedpur.
According to reports, the police arrested the Hindu activists led by Chandan Choubey from outside the SSP’s office on Monday. Sections of the illegal possession of the Arms and Explosives Act and murder were slapped on them. On Tuesday evening, Chandan Choubey was sent to judicial custody.
The matter came to the notice of fellow lawyers when Chandan Choubey was brought to the Jamshedpur civil court in handcuffs before being sent to jail. Outraged by the police action, several lawyers gathered at the Bar Association. After an emergency meeting, members of the Bar Association resolved to abstain from work in protest of the arbitrary action taken against advocate Chowbey.
Under the law, an accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Handcuffing a person amounts to defiling his/her dignity. The Supreme Court in its directives has made it clear that no person can be handcuffed without recording a reason and a trial court’s order is mandatory.
“The act of submitting a memorandum to the senior SP is not a criminal act. If the police do not ensure the release of the arrested advocate by Wednesday evening, the Jamshedpur Bar Association will be compelled to continue the strike tomorrow, ” declared one of the members of the association.
The agitated lawyers are of the opinion that by putting hand-cuffs while arresting advocate Chowbey, the police have violated the apex court’s ruling and termed it to be a criminal act on the part of the police.
Expressing astonishment at how the police treated Chandan Choubey, who had simply gone to meet the Superintendent of Police with his client, the Jamshedpur Bar Association members demanded that the police officer who handcuffed Choubey must be taken to task. Meanwhile, a delegation led by District Bar Association Ad-hoc Committee President Lala Ajit Kumar Ambasht submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner Vijaya Jadhav demanding the suspension of the guilty police officer.
BJP MLA Saryu Rai has expressed surprise over the highhandedness of the Jamshedpur police working at the behest of the Hemant Soren government in Jharkhand.
Notably, Anirudh Giri, who was amongst those arrested, had returned just two days ago after performing his deceased mother’s Shraaddh (death rituals).
The VHP leaders maintained their innocence while being arrested. They requested that the CCTV installed in the SSP office be investigated. Choubey claimed that under the pretence of a meeting, he and his fellow leaders were summoned to the SSP office and arrested. He also said that the police confiscated their cell phones.
It may be recalled that in the aftermath of violent clashes that occurred on Sunday in Jamshedpur, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) alleged that a masked mob came out of an Iftar party to target a temple. The Iftar party has been claimed to be organized by Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Section 144 has been imposed in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, following the violence and mobile internet services have been temporarily suspended.
Reportedly, a violent mob targeted a temple and engaged in acts of arson and stone pelting against two nearby shops. Additionally, an autorickshaw was set ablaze. The police have detained several individuals, and a significant police presence has been deployed to the area. Some Hindu organizations have accused the administration of taking one-sided action.
According to media reports, the incident is from Shastri Nagar in Jamshedpur. Religious slogans were shouted during the attack on the Hindus. The controversy started on Saturday when a piece of meat was tied to a Hindu religious flag. Hindu organisations protested alleging that the flag was desecrated and demanded strict action against the accused. As soon as the information about the protests of Hindu organisations came, the people on the other side also started mobilising, triggering clashes between the two groups.