BBMP’s recent move to ban protests in front of Town Hall has made protestors move to other prominent venues in Bengaluru like Freedom Park, Bannappa Park, and Maurya Circle
By Archita Charkroborty
With the authorities imposing ban on Town Hall protests owing to the lack of revenue, the number of applications at other prominent protest spots in the city are increasing. However, the applicants are unhappy about not getting the same visibility and media attention as Town Hall.
The data from, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) office of west division, which covers the Freedom Park area, shows that out of 40 applications for protest received in a month nine protests have already taken place in the city. B Ramesh, the DCP, said that, “There has been an increase in the number of protest applications for Freedom Park than before.”
Daniah Kakkar, general secretary of Construction Workers Welfare Board said, “We applied for protests at Townhall but the DCP central didn’t grant it, so we had to move to Freedom Park for our protest. But we are not getting enough protesters here.”
A senior journalist working for a newspaper said, “Freedom Park or any other place don’t get much attention or media coverage like Town hall or earlier place in front Gandhi statue in MG road used to get because no inconvenience is caused to the people. Contrary to this when protest occurs at Townhall, the traffic comes to a halt which is troublesome for people. This way protests complete their purpose of getting the required attention. And also people have the freedom to protest anywhere they want. But Town hall is BBMP’s property, so they have taken the resolution in the name of not getting enough revenue.”
Town Hall has always been a sought-after location in the centre of the city for protests in Bengaluru. The place had seen protests, demonstrations, candlelight vigils, and hunger strikes almost every day for many years.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Pallike (BBMP) has recently passed a resolution to ban the protests in front of Town Hall owing to lack of revenue for the Town Hall. A report said, “The BBMP claimed that it suffered huge losses as nobody any longer books the Town Hall auditorium because the entrance is blocked by activists.”
Bannappa Park police inspector said, “We stopped giving permission for protest at Bannapa Park because the school going children face issues due to excessive noise which affects their study.”
With Bannapa Park and Town Hall becoming off the records for protestors, there is a growing application for protesting at Freedom Park.
Srinivas Alavilli, founder of Citizen for Bangalore said, “The ban is unnecessary and it shouldn’t be put up. It is an anti- constitutional strategy by BBMP to stop the protest. The town hall is a suitable place for the protest. The people can protest without disturbing the public. It is a fundamental right of the people, that they can protest anywhere they want unless it is affecting public.”