A 28-year-old lawyer, Abid Abbas Sayed, was allegedly assaulted by four police officers from the BKC police station during nakabandi on Saturday. The incident took place on the night of September 30, when Sayed, a resident of Deonar, had gone to Kurla to meet friends. He was then accompanied by a friend who is also a lawyer, and they were on their way to Bandra for a meal.
Sayed complained to the BKC police on Tuesday. He recounted the incident, “A police van stopped near our scooter on the main BKC road during what appeared to be a routine checkpoint. When asked for my driver`s license, I explained that I didn`t have a physical copy but a copy stored in his Digi locker, a government-provided digital storage service with legal validity. I requested some time to access it.”
Lawyers protested the alleged attack on Sayed on Tuesday with red ribbons tied on their arms
However, one of the police officers became aggressive and verbally abused Sayed, making derogatory comments about his religion. Despite showing his Bar Council identity card to prove his credentials as a lawyer, the officers allegedly continued to mistreat him. Sayed claimed he was pushed into the police van, where he was physically assaulted and beaten with rods by two constables who were already inside. Two more constables nearby made threatening comments, suggesting Sayed should be killed and his body disposed of in the nearby Mithi River. Sayed believed that the officers were intoxicated.
During the assault, Sayed was subjected to hateful remarks, including being labelled a terrorist. Sayed`s friend attempted to intervene but was also threatened with charges under IPC Section 353, which pertains to assaulting a public servant on duty. “Under duress, I was forced to sign on blank sheets of paper, and the police took down personal information before issuing further threats,” said Sayed.
Lawyers` associations in the East, West, and North regions expressed their displeasure by tying red ribbons in protest against the assault. They have called for swift action against the accused police officers and the immediate implementation of the Lawyers’ Protection Bill.
Senior advocate Kishore Joshi stressed the urgency of implementing the Lawyers` Protection Bill. Advocate Surendra Landge (secretary, Borivli Advocate Bar Association) said, “If attacks on lawyers do not stop and the Lawyers’ Protection Bill is not implemented soon, lawyers will stop working.”
Advocate Versha Nyaynit emphasized the need for lawyers to raise their voices against such mistreatment. Advocate Tabrez Jabali, secretary of the Kurla Metropolitan Magistrate Court Association, said if action is not taken promptly, they will escalate the matter to higher authorities and the court.
Advocate Feroz Khan said, “We have observed a concerning rise in religious extremism within public-sector government departments. This disturbing trend manifests as a notable bias against a specific religion, which I too, have personally experienced. If left unchecked, it poses a significant threat to our societal harmony.”
“We have told the ACP of Kherwadi Division to investigate this matter. A fair investigation will be done and legal action will be taken against whoever is found guilty,” said DCP Dixitkumar Gedam of Zone VIII.