A day later, high court is back to business

There was tight security and only a few cases were heard on Thursday

The after-effects were visible, but a day after thirteen people were killed and more than seventy injured in a blast outside its premises, Delhi High Court was back to business. The everyday buzz was dead. The car parking area, which is otherwise so packed that it is difficult to negotiate even on foot, remained more or less empty - one could count the number of cars on fingers. The dozen odd street hawkers, who'd be a common sight on any other week day, were also all gone.

Close watch: A Delhi police commando stands guard in front of Delhi
High Court in the Capital on Thursday. A powerful bomb ripped through
a packed reception area at one of the entrances of the court on
Wednesday, killing 13 people and injuring more than 70.
Pic/Imtiyaz Khan

The resident lawyers, who're generally seen walking in and out of the gates at rush hour, were also noticeably fewer in numbers and seemed a bit on edge. Their usual chatter was missing, making the place eerily quiet but for the pitter-patter of the rain. The only real 'crowd' around comprised reporters and cameramen on the job. In addition, of course, there were many officials of Delhi police who could be overheard cribbing about one incident of disorder after another. "Pehle Anna, phir yeh (first Anna, then this)," a policeman complained to his colleague.    

Change of route
Till around 1pm, the connecting Sher Shah road remained closed for public, but it was opened for traffic post afternoon. A few cars passed by the area. Most that did had keen faces popping out of the window to get a glimpse of ground zero, which seemed to have converted into a tourist spot after the Wednesday tragedy. Condemning the act, 46-year-old, Rohan Juneja said, "I wanted to see the extent of damage myself. I was passing by the same road so got a quick glimpse. These terrorist attacks must be condemned and those behind it should be hanged." Juneja who was heading to his workplace in CP stopped by for a closer look at the site.

Rain trouble
The blast site, near gate no. 5, remained cordoned off and the grounds covered to keep the rain out of bounds. The reception, where the blast took place, was however shifted to a nearby NDMC school. The site of the May 25 blast at gate number 7 was also secured with tight police cover and anyone passing through any gate at the court was being thoroughly frisked, scanned and checked for identity proof before being allowed entry. "As a preventive measure security has been beefed up at the court," said a police official. However, lawyers there said that the entire activity was hogwash. "No one is so dumb that they will redo the thing at the same spot the very next day.

Come and see the security after a month. It would be no different from what it used to be earlier. We will keep shouting and the government will keep ignoring," said Sanjeev Kumar, a lawyer. Only a few hundred metres away at Patiala House Courts, a metal detector has been installed at gate no. 1 of the premises, next to the Tilak Marg police station in New Delhi district. Some of the litigants here even complained that they had difficulty in taking in their bags. "I had a briefcase with me and the cops were looking at me suspiciously. Even after checking it they were not allowing me to enter the court premises. Only after much effort, I managed to," said Ramesh Yadav, a litigant.

Not enough!
Meanwhile, expressing dissatisfaction over the security at north Delhi's Tis Hazari Courts, Rajiv Khosla, spokesperson of the coordination committee of all bar associations said, "At Tis Hazari, and other district courts, security is not up to the mark. No significant security measure has been taken and nothing has improved. There are nearly 350 court rooms here and over a lakh people coming in every day but the approach of the security personnel is still very shoddy."

New cameras
Delhi High Court on Thursday decided to install 49 new CCTV cameras and four vehicle scanners at entry points in the wake of Wednesday's terror attack there which exposed chinks in the security apparatus. There are already 21 CCTV cameras in the court complex but there was none at the reception counter where the blast had taken place. 49 more such instruments would be installed at strategic locations in and around the complex. This was decided at a high-level meeting at the High Court, attended by senior officials, including the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government and the Special Police Commissioner (Law and Order). The meeting was presided by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, D K Sharma, Secretary of the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA). A decision to "de-congest" adjoining roads and areas near the court premises has also been taken, Sharma said. A senior official of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in the meeting that it had enough CCTV cameras which were meant for the 2010 Commonwealth Games and are now lying unused and can be installed here, the DHCBA Secretary said.

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