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Shoot-at-sight order issued, TN remains tense
February 20, 2009 23:56 IST
Last Updated: February 21, 2009 19:55 IST
Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued and entry of advocates into court complexes banned to contain the protests over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue in Tamil Nadu.
Reports received from various parts of the state said that after two days of unrest, there were no protests by advocates on Saturday, as the courts remained closed for the weekend.
The government ordered the transfer of M Ramasubramani, Joint Commissioner (North), under whose jurisdiction the high court falls. Sporadic incidents of torching of government vehicles and protests by lawyers were reported from many areas of the state on Friday though the courts remained closed.
An announcement from the director general of police's office said anti-social elements and miscreants were using the lawyers' agitation as an excuse to damage public property and burn vehicles. Action would be taken against those who try to damage vehicles or involve in other illegal activities, it said.
The advocates were protesting the police action on February 19, during the violence in the Madras High Court, which left over 100 people, including a judge, lawyers and policemen, injured. Continuing its crackdown on advocates, police registered cases against those who indulged in violence during Friday's protests in Chennai and Madurai [Images].
The Chennai police have registered FIRs against a number of persons for various offences, including arsoning, rioting and assaulting public servants. This is in addition to the attempt to murder cases registered against around 150 advocates in connection with the February 19 clashes.
In Madras High Court, the epicentre of the lawyers' unrest, all entry gates of the sprawling complex remained closed and only the staff was allowed to enter. This followed a decision taken by Acting Chief Justice S J Mukhopadyaya and communicated to the DGP.
In high drama late on Friday night, a group of over 60 lawyers declined to leave the high court premises despite the directive by Justice Mukhopadyaya. They relented only after Madras High Court Advocates Association President Paul Kanakaraj persuaded them.
Meanwhile, some senior lawyers alleged that advocates owing allegiance to certain political parties were pressing for the strike on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and others were being forced to join them.
"Only 10 per cent of the lawyers support the strike, others did not want Tamils in Tamil Nadu to suffer. Judges should intervene and sort out this problem smoothly," they said,
Disapproving 'unruly behaviour' of advocates even inside court premises, they wondered if Tamil Nadu advocates had any moral right in seeking a Supreme Court bench in Chennai.
A report from Coimbatore said that elaborate security arrangements have been made in and around the district court complex there and also subordinate courts in the district in the wake of Friday's violence in several parts of the state. Security, including armed guards, has been provided to the quarters of judges, police and senior officials across the district, police sources said.
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