Sene's 'Operation Prashant Bhushan' planned days earlier
Supreme Court lawyer and Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan was attacked on Wednesday evening for his remarks on Kashmir. Police have identified two right-wing groups behind the incident.
According to Bhushan's secretary Pranav Sachdeo, who is also an eyewitness to the attack, the noted lawyer had returned to his chamber no 301 of New Lawyers Chamber opposite the Supreme Court at about 4 pm.
"He had come after a session in court and was about to give an interview to a news channel. Three men barged in and without a word, slapped him and pulled him out of his chair. They then repeatedly punched him and pinned him on the ground. They threw his spectacles away and also tore his shirt. When I went to help, I was also beaten up," Sachdeo told rediff.com.
Sachdeo added that each time they slapped Bhushan, the three men asked, "Will you divide Kashmir? Will you hand our Kashmir to Pakistan?"
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Image: A TV grab of the attack on Prashant Bhushan
'Frustrated from traitors and motivated from A Wednesday'
Other lawyers and Bhushan's staff managed to break the attack. Two of the assaulters fled after throwing some pamphlets at the venue. The people who rescued Bhushan managed to hold on to one of the assaulters, who was later handed over to the police.
A senior police official said that the accused has been identified as Inder Verma, 24. He hails from a small village called Karai in Nangloi in outer Delhi.
He is the self-proclaimed president of the state unit of Sri Ram Sene. The pamphlets that were thrown at the venue were issued by another little-known right-wing group called Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena.
The pamphlets are signed by Tajender Pal Singh Bagga, the reported president of the group, Arun Kumar, the general secretary and Vishnu Gupta, the vice president.
The parting line of the pamphlet reads, "Frustrated from traitors and anti-nationals and motivated from A Wednesday movie" (sic).
In a press release sent by Sri Ram Sene, claiming responsibility for the attack, the arrested Delhi president of the group, Inder Verma is quoted as saying that the statement made by Bhushan on Kashmir is intolerable.
"I don't understand why the president of this country, who is the supreme commander of the army, doesn't issue orders to shoot people like Prashant Bhushan. Anyway, we, the people of this country have some responsibility and we will teach him a lesson."
Image: Inder Kumar, 24, is the self-proclaimed president of the state unit of Shri Ram Sene.
'Bhushan's staff attacked us first and so we had to retaliate'
Anna Hazare with associates (from left) Prashant Bhushan, Shanti Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal
A member of Sri Ram Sene told rediff.com that the attack was planned well in advance.
"Our members got inside by saying we had an appointment with him. Our initial plan was not to attack him, but to tell him that we oppose his statement. But the fact is Bhushan's staff attacked us first and so we had to retaliate," the member said.
The member said that they were protesting Bhsuhan's statement last week in Varanasi where he said there could be a referendum in Kashmir.
Activists of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena were last arrested for creating a ruckus at India Habitat Center in May this year during the launch of Arundhati Roy's essays "Broken Republic".
Sri Ram Sene had grabbed headlines in 2008, when they vandalised an exhibition of MF Hussain's paintings. They also were in the news after they announced in Delhi that they would film young couples out on Valentine's Day and put them up on Youtube.com.
Members of the group also assaulted women at a pub in Mangalore, evoking widespread criticism.
Later, speaking to mediapersons after returning from a medical checkup, Bhushan demanded that Sri Ram Sene, being an illegal group, must be banned.
Veteran activist Anna Hazare also condemned the attack at Ralegan Siddhi, noting that 'one should not take law into his/her hands.'