Patriotic Peoples’ Front Assam (PPFA) expressed serious concern over the Goalpara incident, where a sitting judge was physically manhandled by some lawyers recently. The forum, in a statement released on February 22, demanded stern actions against those unruly law practitioners to maintain the dignity of the Indian judicial entity.
In a strongly worded note, the Northeast India-based forum said that the anti-national culprits, who targeted the Foreigners Tribunal member Ajay Kumar Phukan inside his office at Goalpara in western Assam, must be punished to protect the image of judicial personalities among the mass.
It may be noted that a group of lawyers, while engaging with heated arguments with the sitting judge on February 15, over a D (doubtful)- voters case, ended up physically assaulting Phukan and vandalized the office.
Tribunal member Phukan on February 9 opined that eight out of 13 D-voters, whose cases were dealt in his court, were foreigners. It angered the lawyers, hired by the individuals, and they along with a few other law practitioners started arguing with Phukan that finally turned hostile.
Phukan had lodged an FIR with the Goalpara Sadar police station and the police have reportedly arrested five lawyers namely Najrul Islam, Abdur Baten, Safiqur Islam, Anowar Hussain and Nurjamal Islam suspecting their roles in the assault case. Other accused (Omar Farooq and Shahjahan Ali), whose names were figured in Phukan’s FIR are reported to be absconding.
Following the shocking incident, a team from Gauhati High Court visited Goalpara to inquire about the investigation. Led by Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, the team included Assam’s additional chief secretary (home) TY Das, state police chief Mukesh Sahay, special director-general of police (law & order) Kuladhar Saikia along with a few high profile officials. Goalpara district magistrate JVN Subramanyam and the district police chief Amitava Sinha also accompanied the team.
The incident evoked sharp reactions from the civil society groups in Assam and they demanded immediate actions against those involved in the case. Condemnations poured from All Assam Layers Association, All Assam Students’ Union, All Assam Goria Moria Deshi Jatiya Parishad, Prabrajan Virodhi Mancha, Guwahati Senior Citizens’ Association etc.
“We would like to urge the Supreme Court, which constituted the Foreigners Tribunals for expediting identification & determination of illegal migrants, to take serious note of the incident,” said the statement issued by the PPFA, adding that the Bar Council of India must take exemplary actions against the lawyers, who engaged themselves in the dastardly act of physical assaults with a judge.”