New Delhi: Amid outrage over a video that showed police thrashing students, including women, during a protest, Delhi top cop B S Bassi on Tuesday appeared to defend his force suggesting that the protesters may have provoked them.
"Right to protest coexists with what Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr said - The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins," the police commissioner posted on microblogging website Twitter.
Although, Bassi attributed the quote to American Jurist Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, its origin is disputed as the adage is attributed to various legal luminaries. The quote is also recorded in a 1919 Harvard Law Review essay by legal philosopher Zechariah Chafee which contained a version spoken by an anonymous judge.
Referring to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's tweet that Delhi Police was being used as RSS and BJP's "private army", Bassi said that he will try to clear the CM's "misgivings" when they meet next. "DP handled 11,156 L&O events in 2015, most peaceful. Whenever I meet Hon'bleCM, I shall try to clear his misgivings. DP is bound to protect freedom of free speech and peaceful assembly. Help DP and democracy by agitating at JantarMantar," he said in a series of tweets.
The video of police thrashing a group of students with sticks and fists and dragging women by their hair during a protest over Dalit student Rohith Vemula's suicide has triggered widespread outrage with Congress and AAP seeking action against the erring cops.
On Monday, Bassi ordered an inquiry into the incident, that took place near the RSS headquarters on January 30, which, he said will be probed from all aspects, including examining whether there was any "indiscretion".
A Delhi School of Social Work (DSW) student, who was at the receiving end of the police assault, alleged police took turns in "brutally" thrashing him and did not even let him sip water.