RPF personnel, lawyers clash at Thampanoor station

Lawyers protest against detention of colleague; officer fires in the air

0tDC45_oy1775Thiruvananthapuram (TVC):  Clashes between Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and lawyers that broke out following an argument during a routine train ticket inspection at the Thampanoor Central railway station on Tuesday resulted in an RPF officer firing one round in the air on the Vanchiyoor court complex premises at 6 p.m.

According to information from the police, RPF sources, and eye-witnesses, the chain of events began at 2 p.m. when Ragendu, a lawyer practising with the Vanchiyoor Bar, was detained by a ticket examination squad at the railway station. He had reached the station along with his brother, Krishnendu, also a lawyer. Mr. Ragendu was about to board the train when he was stopped by the squad, which comprised two women Railway officials and two RPF personnel. Even as he explained to them that the ticket was with his brother who had already boarded the train, the train left the station. He was detained at the RPF station and was later about to be taken for medical examination when other lawyers reached the RPF station. Sources said by that time, Krishnendu, who is physically challenged, got off the train and reached the station.

0tDC40_oy1774An altercation ensued, during which an RPF constable, T. James, who was later suspended pending inquiry, struck Krishnendu on the face, resulting in bleeding injuries. Both the brothers were held by the RPF.

The lawyers demanded that a case be registered and the duo be produced before court.

The rest of the episode unfolded on the court premises where the argument between the lawyers and RPF personnel who brought the brothers to the court led to trading of blows and one RPF official pulled out his gun and fired one round in the air. RPF Inspector R.S. Rajesh and another officer, Padmakuma,r, both of whom were injured, are said to have used a Kerala Police vehicle that was parked on the premises to escape from the lawyers.

Both Mr. Ragendu and Mr. Krishnendu, and the RPF personnel, including the Inspector, were admitted to the Thiruvananthapuram medical college hospital.

City Police Commissioner H. Venkatesh, along with Deputy Commissioner S. Ajeetha Begum, held discussions with District Judge B.Sudheendra Kumar and RPF top officials, and later told the media that the police would register a case in connection with the incident and conduct an investigation, before arraigning anyone as the accused.

The Trivandrum Bar Association, which registered its protest and demanded suspension of the RPF officials involved in the incident, has called for a State-wide boycott of court duties by lawyers on Wednesdsy.