Loud sloganeering, unruly protestors from Freedom Park tend to disturb institutes, colleges around

The Licensing and Regulation of Protests, Demonstrations and Protest Marches (Bengaluru City) Order was passed in 2021, which confined the protests to Freedom Park
Protests at Freedom Park | (Pic: EdexLive)
Protests at Freedom Park | (Pic: EdexLive)

Freedom Park, the designated place allotted by the state government to hold protests and demonstrations for the past one and a half years, has left educational institutes and government offices in a bitter spot as they are constantly being exposed to loud sloganeering and long traffic jams, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

"There are protests every single day, majorly happening during peak college hours between 10 am to 4 pm. Loud microphones are used and activists and citizens are engaged in high-pitched discussions and speeches causing stress to our students and teachers. Verbal complaints to the police haven't helped," L Gomathi Devi, Vice-Chancellor, Maharani Cluster University told The New Indian Express.

With over 7,000 female students studying at Maharani's Science College, Maharani's Women's Arts Commerce and Management College and VHD Central Institute of Home Sciences, they are exposed to protests taking place in Freedom Park.

Located on Seshadri Road, not just colleges, but multiple government offices such as the office of the Regional Joint Director for Collegiate Education, and the Department of Prisons & Correctional Services are also suffering due to the daily events.

It's not just the sloganeering
The principal of the Home Sciences College, Usha Devi C, said not just the dharnas but several times the protestors are a nuisance themselves, using the college washrooms without permission, parking private vehicles on college property and leaving garbage outside the campus.

"We have complained to the police serval times. Sometimes the volumes are decreased but the incidents keep happening regularly. Due to the lack of basic facilities, men also urinate on the college walls which is a big hygiene issue," she added.

The college also emphasised that windows and doors cannot be closed as ventilation would be hampered, urging authorities to take action. A teacher at the institution also spoke about heavy traffic on the roads during the bandhs or processions leaving them stuck for hours either on roads or in the premises.

When The New Indian Express contacted Higher Education Minister Dr MC Sudhakar, he said, "It is a legitimate problem considering the protest site witnesses groups and organisations coming from all parts of Karnataka. One of the solutions could be building a wall high up to reduce the noise levels. I will also speak to the Police Commissioner to chalk out ways to combat this."

"Don't confine us to Freedom Park"
Meanwhile, protestors, acknowledging the high decibels during gatherings, said the onus should be on the government to address the issue, quoting ‘Right to Assembly and Protest’ is their fundamental right. "The government should remove the obnoxious directions passed by the police and allow protests to happen in those parts that are reeling with the problem," said Vimala KS, an activist. She explained that small gatherings can take place at the Town Hall steps, near Mysore Bank Circle, Silver Jubilee Park and inside Cubbon Park.

"The point of protests is to draw the government's attention and create awareness among the citizens. Putting activists in a corner of the city defeats the entire purpose of holding them," said Brinda Adige, a women's rights activist.

The Licensing and Regulation of Protests, Demonstrations and Protest Marches (Bengaluru City) Order was passed in 2021, which confined the protests to Freedom Park.

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