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POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 12, 2011 AT 23:46 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 12, 2011 23:46 IST

What happened today

Lawyer-activist and prominent Team Anna member Prashant Bhushan was assaulted by three youths belonging to a right-wing group in his Supreme Court chamber for his advocacy of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.

The attack on Bhushan came live on the TV screens when Inder Verma (24) and two others barged into into Chamber No 301 of New Lawyers Chamber opposite Supreme Court and attacked him mentioning "Kashmir, Kashmir".

As he was preparing to give an interview to a TV channel, the lawyer was first slapped as his spectacles flew, beaten, kicked and pinned to the ground after being pushed out of the chair.

After reaching his home in neighbouring Noida, Bhus narrated the incident and sought a ban on organisations like Sri Ram Sene which practice "goondaism" of this type in various cities across the country on whatever issues it likes.

He expressed hope that legal proceedings would be initiated against the attackers and appealed to his supporters not to indulge in retribution.

However, Bhushan refused to take questions on his views on Kashmir that provoked the attack.

Earlier immediately after the attack, Bhushan said in his chamber that the youths targeted him for his stand on Jammu and Kashmir.

"They were saying that I have made some comments on Kashmir to which they were taking objection. I have said that a plebiscite should be held in Kashmir," Bhushan said.

He had said in Varanasi last week that there could be a plebiscite in Kashmir. Bhushan claimed this comment angered the group which was behind the attack.

What Prashant Bhushan said on September 26:

One Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, who supposedly heads an organisation called Bhagat Singh Kranti Sen, claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter and Facebook.

His bio on twitter reads:

"Frustrated from Congress,Corruption,Traitors & Anti-Nationals & Motivated from A Wednesday movie. If You Will Try to Break My Nation,I Will Break Your Head"

At 10:10am, this morning, he tweeted, "God give us power to complete our Mission."

Then at 4:45 pm he tweeted again, saying,

"We hit Prashant Bhushan hard in his chamber in supreme court.if u will try to break my nation,i will break ur heads."

He further wrote,

" he try to break my Nation,i try to break his head.Hisab chukta. Congrats to all. operation Prashant Bhushan successfull."

He expressed similar sentiments on Facebook.

Significantly, the same little-known group was also involved in vandalising the venue where activist Arundhati Roy and Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani delivered a speech last year.

The same group was apparently also present to protest at the India Habitat Centre earlier this year during the launch of her book of essays. Delhi Police had let them out after keeping them in detention for 36 hours.

On Twitter and Facebook, the response was predictable: sane voices condemned the attack, and there were also the usual suspects who seemed to rationalise it, invoking the usual Deewar dialogue (Jao jaake pehle us aadmi ka sign lekar aao...) and how there had been no similar outrage over the attacks on Ms Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, Mr Subrahmanian Swamy or Taslima Nasreen, or how those supporting Maoists or the Hurriyats had no right to complain about violence.

Some of the reactions on Facebook and Twitter:

Clearly, as disturbingly evident in some of the remarks above, there is no unequivocal condemnation for the attack on Mr Bhushan and this latest controversy is bound to create divisions among those hitherto supporting Team Anna, as the views expressed by Mr Bhushan on J&K are not shared by most of the other team members and are also diametrically opposite those of the RSS, BJP and even the Congress.

Almost all the mainstream political parties, equally expectedly, have come out strongly against the violence witnessed today, suggesting that differences of opinion need to be settled by dialogue.

Mr Digvijaya Singh of the Congress party has already accused Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga of being a worker for the BJP's yuva morcha. A Google+ Account does have one Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga (appearing to be the same person as the one with the Twitter and Facebook accounts) that describes him in the About section as  "BJP Youth Ex National Executive Member."

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman has dismissed the charge by saying, "The BJP has nothing to do with these people. If the individual claims any association with the Yuva Morcha, the Yuva Morcha will give its clarification."

Earlier, the BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar had said, "BJP condemns any kind of violence against anybody. But the Congress dirty tricks department is capable of doing anything. Only a thorough inquiry will reveal the truth behind the incident."

In a week when the Congress has been on the offensive -- insisting that it is for a strong Lokpal as a constitutional body, Mr Digvijay Singh is brandishing letters from the RSS showing support to the Anna agitation etc -- today's shocking incident is bound to raise more questions than answers on how the anti-corruption movement is taken forward.

POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 12, 2011 AT 23:46 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 12, 2011 23:46 IST
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Daily Mail
Digression
47/D-153
Oct 20, 2011
11:41 PM

The beating is engineered. Prashant Bhushan's view are too well known. Why there is an attack now. Everyone knows its to engineer a divide in team anna.

Mahesh
delhi, India
46/D-40
Oct 16, 2011
11:16 AM

In no two meaning;
No one has the right to punish someone for having an opinion.

I used the word punish for the reason that Anna team is re-thinking Prashant Bhusan's position in the team. That too is a punishment, and I vehemently condemn that too (Delhi kids don't deserve my attention).
But there is another thing, Anna's (individual) right to associate/dis-associate with individuals.?
Anyways, If I am Anna, I wouldn't distance from Prashant.

Santosh Gairola
Hsinchu, Taiwan
45/D-135
Oct 14, 2011
09:29 PM

Team Anna is suggesting that it was not an attack on free speech, but done with the idea of taking the focus away from corruption.

"Claiming that it was an attempt to divert attention from the issue of corruption, they also questioned police actions, alleging that the cops did not act swiftly against the attackers and wondered whether there were "instructions from the top" to do so."

And we all know who stands to gain if the focus goes away from corruption, and who could have given "instructions from the top".

Further, the police are not as incompetent, as they are shown in this episode

He said Bagga was arrested a day after the incident though he was giving interviews to media. "He even spoke to our volunteers for two hours. It is curious to note that police was saying the whole night that they could not locate him,"

Clearly, again, the police were given instructions to let Bagga free for some time, so he could actively give interviews, and try to shift the blame to "right wing organizations".

www.rediff.com/news/report/team-anna-sees-conspiracy-behind-attacks-doubts-motive/20111014.htm

Whats InAName
San Francisco, United States
44/D-134
Oct 14, 2011
09:16 PM

>> Although Muslim blogs are full of outrage against the Shahi Imam, demanding his arrest, there is unfortunately very little coverage of this heinous event in the general media.

You mean Muslim posters are showing ghetto mentality in even online forums?

Then why do you blame Sangh for it all the time? Or has your paranoia grown so much, that you have believe that RSS is controlling Internet too?

Whats InAName
San Francisco, United States
43/D-115
Oct 14, 2011
06:47 PM

Its not just the FIR against Swami, some goons also attacked his house in Hyderabad, allegedly Congress worker. What was the Response from free speech Cheerleaders?
"Violence of words and physical violence are two sides of the same coin" said one of them.
In India every one is guilty of double standards when it comes to Freedom of Speech and self proclaimed secular-liberal more so than others. In fact, most of our Free Speech stars (if u can call them so) don't even understand the basic idea behind free speech. Few of them defend free speech for its own sake. You can see some example in today's TOI, Mumbai Ed. also.
One gentleman says: in Hinduism, all enmities end with the death of a person, so why oppose MF Hussein now that he is dead! Isn't this the reason that Muslim outrage over Prophet's sketch/photo or any thing perceived to be insulting to their religious beliefs doesn't look so bad to majority of our liberals?
Similarly, Shri Mahesh Bhatt was hurt because the goons didn’t allow him to pay respect to "India's Picasso": Implicit in such arguments is, the defense of the greatness of the "Speech" in question, rather than the right to Free Speech".
Then there are Senas, Samitis, Parishads, who's "Sentiments" are hurt every time they come across printed words and the next thing you know is: some author getting whacked somewhere in public. In fact the only time right, left and centre unite on something, it is on banning a book or a movie. Banning books by political consensus (across the board) is one of the rare things where Maharashtra continues to lead.
Then there is another class which "sincerely expresses its condemnations", when "questioned" on a Salman Rushdie or a Taslima Nasreen case, but is otherwise busy through the year, convincing the rest about the superior quality of Indian Picasso's works and consequently its eligibility for freedom of speech considerations.

The only way out imo is: the State should demonstrate its commitment to free speech by swift action against the offenders, without exceptions, Liberals refrain from spewing their phony sermons on free speech and should rather focus on ensuring State's accountability, or alternatively we can simply drop all pretence and adopt Chinese free speech model.
 

Saurabh Kumar Srivastava
Mumbai, India
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