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Monday, May 17, 2021

Bengaluru: Civic body under fire for banning protests at iconic Town Hall

The Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall in Bengaluru has seen several protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act recently.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Bengaluru |
Updated: March 2, 2020 7:05:32 pm
town-hall-bangalore-karnataka-Bengaluru On Saturday, the BBMP council passed a resolution banning all protests in front of the Town Hall. (Express photo: Aaron Pereira)

Activists and the Congress party have criticised the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) for its decision to ban protests in front of the iconic Sir Puttanna Chetty Town Hall.

The Town Hall recently saw multiple demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).

On Saturday, the BBMP council passed a resolution banning all protests in front of the Town Hall with immediate effect. According to the BBMP, the hall is for pre-booked programmes and events, but due to the demonstrations, people have stopped booking it.

Speaking to, Bengaluru Mayor M Goutham Kumar said, “The demonstrations are inconveniencing the events the Town Hall is meant for. People have stopped booking the hall. Apart from this, the protests also cause prolonged traffic snarls. Thus, we have decided to ban such gatherings in front of the hall. However, we are not stopping people from protesting. They can go to the freedom park, the designated place for this.”

Political parties, activists and trade unions in Bengaluru often hold protests in front of the Town Hall, and the BBMP’s decision has not been received well.

Srinivas Alavilli, activist and co-founder of Citizens for Bengaluru, said in a tweet: “Bad resolution. No debate, no discussion conveys the intent behind the resolution. Politicians must always remember that they are public servants too for a temporary period of time. What goes around, comes around.”

The Congress party, in opposition in the BBMP council, criticised the ruling BJP’s move and said it was done to stifle anti-CAA protests. Speaking to, former mayor and councilor Gangambike Mallikarjun said, “The Opposition was not aware of such a resolution till it was passed at the end of the council meeting. This is not right. People have been protesting in front of the Town Hall for years.”

Abdul Wajid, leader of opposition in the BBMP, said, “The way they passed the resolution shows how afraid the state government is of the anti-CAA protests. The BJP has passed the proposal in an undemocratic way. In the next council meeting, we will take up this issue.”

The Town Hall in Bengaluru was inaugurated in 1935 and is named after philanthropist and former president of Bangalore city municipality, Sir KP Puttanna Chetty.

Apart from the Town Hall, other locations in the city that see protests frequently are Freedom Park, Maurya circle, and Mysuru Bank Circle.

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