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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Brake on long protests at Ramlila Maidan

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 16, 2013
First Published: 22:55 IST(16/1/2013) | Last Updated: 22:57 IST(16/1/2013)

The government has learned its lesson, courtesy Anna Hazare's anti-corruption fast at Ramlila Maidan when Parliament was in session.

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Apprehending a similar unrest over the Delhi gang rape and trying to avoid a showdown on two fronts — with people at Ramlila Maidan and with the Opposition at Parliament — the government has now come up with an advisory.

The Delhi Police, which comes under the Union home ministry, sent the advisory to North Delhi civic body, asking it not to let the Ramlila Maidan to any single individual/group for more than three days whenever the House is in session.

"The Parliament session, beginning February, is likely to discuss the issue of women's safety. There might be large-scale protests, fearing which the police have sent an advisory to North Delhi Municipal Corporation," said a civic body official.

During the protests over the December 16 gang rape, protesters had gathered at Jantar Mantar and India Gate. Now, with the advisory, the Ramlila Ground may become out of bounds for the protesters. Sources said the municipal commissioner has agreed to the advisory in order to maintain law and order situation in the city.

Political leaders of the corporation said that they would not let the police decide what they do with Ramlila Maidan.

"The police have no right to tell us what policy can apply on Ramlila Maidan. We will oppose the police move," said VP Pandey, deputy chairperson of North Corporation's standing committee.

The North Corporation owns the Ramlila Maidan and lets it out for R5,000 per day.

Last year, massive protests by Hazare and later by Baba Ramdev embarrassed the government bringing the police in the dock over action on Ramdev’s demonstration.


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