Jallikattu ban: Lawyers offer free legal aid to arrested
CHENNAI: Lawyers have jumped into the jallikattu bandwagon in a different way. A group of advocates from Vellore and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu has offered free legal aid to those who detained or arrested by police for defying the law and conducting jallikattu.
The lawyers say they have decided to "support" people who have been agitating in favour of the sporting event to ensure that the Tamil culture and identity is protected.
"We will provide free legal aid to those arrested for conducting jallikattu in defiance of the Supreme Court order. We feel we should support those people who are taking a risk for protecting the Tamil culture and identity," advocate B Rajaguru from Vellore told Deccan Chronicle. He claimed nearly 70 lawyers have joined the effort to provide free legal aid to people who get arrested by police with regard to jallikattu protests. "We did not force anyone. Lawyers have come on their own to support people across Tamil Nadu who conduct jallikattu," he said.
When pointed out that his act could amount to encouraging people to act in defiance of the Supreme Court, Mr Rajaguru said he does not subscribe to the view. "We are not encouraging anyone. We are just saying that we will help if they get arrested. What is the harm in helping people? government provides free legal aid to accused of various cases and does it mean that the government is encouraging criminals?" he asked.
His colleague Kumar also spoke in the same vein saying people who get arrested by police during the protests should get free legal help since they are "fighting to protect the Tamil culture."
"We are not encouraging anyone to defy the Supreme Court. We are saying we will help those who get arrested for demanding jallikattu," Mr Kumar said. To pointed questions on whether their appeal would not amount to contempt of Supreme Court, he replied: "I am not asking them to defy. But if they defy, we will support them legally."