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Delhi: Police want protests to be made free at Ramlila Maidan

Sources said the proposal was discussed by senior officers of the Delhi Police and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation during a meeting a few days ago.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
March 24, 2018 3:24:37 am
ramlila maidan, delhi police, delhi government, delhi aap government, ndmc, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, indian express, delhi news People were asked to move to the ground after the Green Tribunal banned protests at Jantar Mantar (Source: Express photo by Ravi Kanojia)

The capital’s new protest site, Ramlila Maidan, could be divided into three parts — one of which will be a dedicated space for protesters to gather for free. Sources said the proposal was discussed by senior officers of the Delhi Police and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation during a meeting a few days ago, after police said there is no space left in the capital for protesters to gather, following the National Green Tribunal ban on using Jantar Mantar as a protest site.

The Indian Express had earlier reported that Ramlila Maidan has seen just eight rallies or protests from October till February 14. This was largely because the North corporation charges Rs 50,000 to book the site and Rs 5,000 as security deposit.

Police sources said protesters have taken to gathering at Parliament Street, a VVIP area. This, sources said, creates a law and order problem as senior leaders often pass through the route. DCP (New Delhi) Madhur Verma said he has written to the corporation to give a dedicated space at Ramlila Maidan, as per the NGT’s directive. He refused to share further details.

On October 5, an NGT bench headed by Justice R S Rathore had ordered the Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Police Commissioner to “immediately stop all dharnas, assembling of people, public speeches and use of loudspeakers at Jantar Mantar Road”. It also ordered that all protesters be shifted to Ramlila Maidan.

According to initial plans, sources said, one portion will be used for protests while the remaining area will be given on rent for Rs 50,000.

“This will also help the corporation earn more revenue… the ground is so big that it is seldom filled to capacity. So, if it is divided into three parts, with two sites being a paid area, the corporation can earn up to Rs 1 lakh if two sites are booked simultaneously,” an official said.

However, the corporation will wait for the standing committee’s approval before implementing the proposal.
This site, which has a capacity to hold more than 50,000 people and is spread over seven acres, has witnessed several rallies — including Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal agitation.

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