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Congress opposes ban on protests at Bengaluru Town Hall

Bengaluru, March 4 (IANS) The Karnataka Congress firmly opposed banning protests, demonstrations and rallies at the iconic Town Hall in the city by the civic body, a party official said on Tuesday.

“The city civic body’s executive council has no right to ban protests, sit-in demonstrations or rallies in front of the Town Hall, which is meant for public use,” opposition leader Abdul Wajid told IANS here.

Terming the council’s February 29 decision unilateral and undemocratic, Wajid said it was wrong by Mayor Goutham Kumar to claim the opposition party had consented to ban on protests by the public.

“The BJP-led Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palilke (BBMP) has deftly passed a resolution by voice vote on the ban when our and JD-S corporators were discussing about the garbage menace in the city,” claimed Wajid.

Calling for withdrawal of the resolution and removal of barricades around the Town Hall, Wajid said the opposition parties would intensify their agitation if the ban was not revoked as every citizen has right to protest at the venue.

Built in 1935 by Mysore Maharaja Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar, the all-stone building in neo-classical style has a flight of steps leading to the entrance porch resting on 6 Tuscan columns. It is named after former Bangalore city municipality president K.P. Puttanna Chetty.

Massive protests against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), sit-in demos and rallies by various organisations, including political parties for other causes at the venue led to choc-a-bloc traffic and disrupted social and cultural events inside the Hall, which is owned by the city civic body.

The renovated Hall has a huge auditorium with two floors and a capacity to seat about 1,000 people inside its hallowed precincts.

The mayor has recommended to the city police commissioner not to give permission to any organisation, group or political party to stage protests, demonstrations or rallies, as the space around the Hall gets blocked and the gathering spills onto the busy road, choking vehicular traffic.

Defending the ban, Kumar said the protesters could demonstrate or hold rallies at Freedom Park or Gandhiji’s statue in the city centre, which are specified for such events.

“The stakeholders can protest at the sprawling Freedom Park are at Gandhiji statue as they have plenty of space for assembling, parking vehicles or staging rallies and prevent traffic snarls at Town Hall,” asserted Kumar.

–IANS

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