Relaxing the ban on political rallies in College Square area of Kolkata, the police on Sunday announced that such activities will be allowed on Sundays if permission is taken.
Earlier, the state government had banned political activities at College Square, following complaints from Calcutta University students that noise generated from meetings and rallies disturbed their studies.
“We had taken a decision that no rallies or meetings will take place in College Square, because students in nearby schools and colleges were having difficulties in studying. However, we got some requests that such programmes should be allowed at College Square on Sundays. Educational institutions remain closed on Sundays, so we have taken a decision that political programmes could be held on Sundays after acquiring permission from police. A notification in this regard will be issued on Monday,” Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar told mediapersons. However, he added that the ban will remain in place from Mondays to Saturdays.
When asked if similar relaxations would be extended on other holidays, Kumar said: “We will definitely consider that. But you have to understand that we banned such programmes at College Square because our priority was to look after students’ interests. We have already made the area a no-honking zone. There are some schools whose classrooms are just beside the main road. The decision to ban rallies and meetings was taken because of these reasons, and now we are giving some relaxation.”
In a surprising and sudden move, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had banned protest demonstrations at College Square— a place surrounded by education institutions and considered as the protest hub of the city since the beginning of 19th century. The move on June 1 came after Mamata received complaints from a section of Calcutta University students that they could not study at the university due to noise that come from protest demonstration from that historic square. Since the announcement of the ban, Opposition and some rights groups had demanded the withdrawal of the ban.
College Square, located on the iconic College Street, has been a mainstay for protest demonstrations since the beginning of the 19th century.