The situation in the Andhra Pradesh High Court premises remained tense Thursday as lawyers from Telangana continued their protest for the third day, attacking court halls and disrupting proceedings.
For the third day in a row, the protesters targeted the court hall of Justice C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy, damaging furniture and throwing papers and books at him, eyewitnesses said. Lawyers vented their ire at him for continuing with court proceedings despite the boycott call.
As one of the judges Wednesday received minor injuries in a similar attack, the judges held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.
Utter chaos prevailed in the court premises as Telangana lawyers again went on the rampage damaging court property. Acting Chief Justice Meena Kumari visited the chamber of Justice Nagarjuna Reddy and advised the lawyers to be peaceful in their protest.
The condition of three advocates, who are on an indefinite fast on the court premises since Monday, deteriorated Thursday. Advocates from various courts and leaders of political parties met them and expressed their solidarity.
Tension also prevailed at the main entrance to the high court as one of the protesting lawyers tried to immolate himself while others continued their virtual siege of the court complex demanding 42 percent share for Telangana among government-appointed law officers.
Lawyers from Telangana had heated arguments with their counterparts from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The two groups nearly came to blows, further adding to the tension.
The state government, which has denied any bias towards Telangana in recruitment of law officers, has formed a two-member ministerial committee to look into the problem.
Law Minister M. Venkata Ramana Rao, who is a member of the panel, Thursday invited the Telangana lawyers’ Joint Action Committee (JAC) for talks. “We will clear all their misunderstandings if they come forward for talks,” he told reporters.
The JAC, however, has ruled out talks unless the government gives a written assurance to meet its demand.
The panel has claimed that Telangana has maximum representation in the posts of government pleaders, assistant government pleaders and standing counsel.
JAC leaders who are on fast for an indefinite period near the office of the advocate general in the high court premises are also demanding the resignation of Advocate General D.V. Seetharama Murthy, who is not from Telangana.
Work in other civil and criminal courts across Telangana region also remained paralysed. The lawyers staged demonstrations demanding due share for the region in the appointments of law officers.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is spearheading the movement for separate statehood to Telangana, Thursday staged road blockades in different parts of the region to show solidarity with protesting lawyers.