Bangalore: A group of lawyers here on Friday took law into their hands and thrashed media persons, stoned their vehicles, police and college students at a court complex injuring 30 policemen and 10 others from the media.
Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda condemned the violence and announced a judicial probe into the incident.
Troubled erupted when a large number of journalists had gone to the complex to cover the court appearance of former Karnataka minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy in an illegal mining case.
At least two cameramen of two Kannada channels suffered bleeding head injuries while Deputy Commissioner of Police G Ramesh was hit on the head by a stone thrown by lawyers.
One policeman suffered serious injuries, Bangalore Police Commissioner BG Jyothiprakash Mirji told reporters here. He said seven lawyers were injured in the scuffle with police.
The ugly display of anger by the lawyers was apparently over media coverage of their January protest that had grid-locked traffic for seven hours in the city`s central business district.
The lawyers` assault was strongly denounced by Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju, retired Supreme Court judge, former Karnataka Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde, political parties and media organizations.
Gowda told reporters after meeting Home Minister R Ashoka and senior officials that "no mercy will be shown to the guilty whoever they may be".
He said he was ordering a judicial probe by a retired judge of the high court "as we are committed to bring out the truth. Have faith in us".
Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been clamped here and will be in force till Saturday, the chief minister said.
He denied that some people had died in the incident.
Gowda said the government would bear the expenses for the treatment of the injured. It would consider compensating damage to cameras and vehicles of media people.
The trouble started when a few advocates objected to TV crew and photographers trying to film Reddy coming out of the vehicle to proceed to the court.
With media persons asserting their right to carry out their work, lawyers pounced on them. They turned their ire on police personnel who intervened.
The lawyers attacked reporters, including women, TV camera crew and photographers at the crowded civil court premises in the heart of the city.
This was Reddy`s first court appearance in Bangalore. He has been in Hyderabad`s prison since Sep 5 in connection with an illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.
Witnesses said chairs, glass tumblers and flower pots were thrown by lawyers from the upper floors of the multi-storied court complex, about a kilometre from the state assembly.
A few OB vans and vehicles parked in the usually crowded complex were damaged in the stone throwing. The lawyers stoned students of a government college nearby as well.
Police used canes and tear gas to disperse the lawyers.
The lawyers` agitation in Bangalore in Januray had brought traffic in most parts of the central business district to virtual standstill for seven hours.
The civil court complex where Friday`s assault took place is on a road that leads to Bangalore`s main bus stand and railway station.
Protesting against the lawyers attack on them, media persons staged a sit-in at the court premises demanding immediate arrest of the culprits.