It was mayhem in the Kerala High Court as lawyers attacked media persons for reporting on a case of molestation in which a government pleader had been arrested. A cameraman of Media One channel and a cameraman and reporter of Asianet Channel were assaulted by the rampaging lawyers.
The government pleader had been arrested last Thursday for allegedly molesting a woman in a city lane. However, the next day, the victim deposed before the magistrate that it was a case of mistaken identity. She had made a secret statement before the magistrate which was leaked to the media.
On Wednesday reporters who came to court and were waiting in the media room were met with slogans of “Media Go Back” and were forced to leave the media room. “The lawyers did not even spare three women journalists, two of them seniors who have been covering the court for many years,” said a reporter. With the lawyers assaulting journalists and cameramen, mediapersons started protesting outside the court. As the situation heated up, the police had to resort to lathicharges more than once.
Trouble in the court premises began on Tuesday, in relation to a controversial report published by Deccan Chronicle. Journalists were assembled in Court Room 1 D, presided by Justice Sunil Thomas, to hear the proceedings of a case. According to Deccan Chronicle senior reporter Rohit Raj, when he was sitting in the court room, a lawyer called to him and asked to talk to him about a problem in a report he had filed on the case. When Rohit went along with the lawyer to a corner of a court, almost a dozen lawyers allegedly surrounded him and abused him. “Around 10 to 12 lawyers took me to a corner and abused me,” said Rohit.
When media persons heard about the incident and assembled in the media room to prepare a petition on the altercation, a group of lawyers appeared and began to heckle them with slogans. Following the abuse of Rohit, a march was organised by journalists from Ernakulam Press Club to the Association Hall. During the march the situation worsened as both sides pelted stones at each other. In the altercation one lawyer was injured.