2 top Chennai policemen suspended, lawyer-government impasse ends

CHENNAI - The impasse between striking lawyers and the Tamil Nadu government ended Wednesday following the suspension of two senior police officials for their role in clashes with lawyers Feb 19.

The judges ordering the suspension of the two policemen asked the agitating advocates to return to work immediately. The bench comprised of S. Mukhopadhyay, V. Dhanapalan and K. Chandru.

A government source said the officials A.K. Vishwanathan (additional commissioner of police) and Rama Subramanian (former joint commissioner since transferred to Coimbatore) were being placed under suspension.

Lawyers’ representatives told journalists that their Thursday’s protest rally would turn into one of celebrating ‘a well-earned triumph of law and justice’.

‘It is a well-earned triumph for justice, law and democracy. From now on, police officials drunk with power will think twice before breaking the law anywhere - especially within the precincts of the Madras High Court. Heeding the judges’ request to return to work, most of us would be attending courts from Monday,’ S. Prabhakaran, former president of the Madras High Court Advocates’ Association, told reporters.

Commissioner of Police K. Radhakrishnan told the court in an affidavit that Vishwanathan and Subramanian were responsible for ordering baton charge on lawyers twice in the high court premises without proper authorisation February 19.

The violence had resulted in injuries to over 50 lawyers and a judge and led to destruction of public property including government and private vehicles and the burning of a police station within the precincts of the Madras High Court.

Retired Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna had blamed the lawyers and police officials in his interim report submitted to the apex court which had been rejected by advocates all over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Work in courts had come to a halt since February.


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