When 32-year-old Rajesh Singh (name changed) and 50 other employees were sacked without prior notice, they decided to protest against the company. But when Singh approached the police for permission to hold a three-day protest at central Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan, he got the shock of his life.
Singh was told that he would have to pay at least Rs 2 lakh to protest for three days.
In a move to discourage protesters after the embarrassing crackdown on Baba Ramdev’s supporters in June last year, the Delhi Police are mulling a proposal to charge protesters to provide them with security.
Interestingly, politicians and religious leaders will be exempted from this charge despite the fact that a majority of protests are organised by them.
Although no formal order has been passed yet, police have already started asking organisers to deposit money in advance.
“Whenever there is any protest, we have to depute a chunk of our personnel to provide security. Since this will be a kind of private event, we have decided to charge the organiser,” confirmed a senior police officer, who did not want to be named.
As per the proposal, the organiser will have to pay R650 per constable and Rs 1,100 per inspector for eight hours.
For a ground as big as the Ramlila Maidan, the organiser will have to install at least 20 CCTV cameras, the rent for which will be R32,000 per day. Apart from that, the baggage scanner will be available at Rs 5,000 per day.
“We have no role to play in the protest besides making the security arrangements. Sometimes our men have to spend the entire day at the protest site. It is a waste of time, and the organisers should pay us for the security we provide them with,” another senior officer said.
Delhi Police have already started charging for the security cover they provide during movie shoots. “That is still acceptable, but by charging the common man, they are just taking away his democratic right. If they want to charge us, they should include politicians too, who are richer than us and can afford to pay,” Singh said.