The district administration’s plan to shift the dharna sthal from its present location opposite the Vidhan Bhawan to Jhulelal Park has hit a roadblock.
Lucknow University and Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama - situated adjacent the proposed venue - have expressed reservations against permitting demonstrations here. They fear that students might unnecessarily get involved in needless activities that affect academics.
The two institutions have suggested to the chief minister and district administration, through separate letters, that the park on the banks of Gomti should not be used as a protest site and instead an alternative venue should be identified.
“Mobs of protestors, noise loudspeakers and slogan shouting are a common sight during demonstrations. The road adjacent the park houses Arts College, Architecture College apart from Nadwa. Besides Mankameshwar Mandir and Hanuman Mandir are also close by.
The protests would certainly create trouble for the students and the devout,” stated the letter sent to the chief minister by Mohammad Hamza Hasni, secretary of the Islamic seminary. HT is in possession of the letter written on February 21.
Hasni also feared that the demonstrations could some times attract students of the seminary, which could disturb peace in the area. “We would suggest that you reconsider the decision of using Jhulelal Park as dharna sthal and find out a different venue for staging demonstrations,” the letter concludes.
Earlier Maulana Saeedur Rahman Nadwi, principal of the seminary, sent a similar letter addressed to senior superintendent of police (SSP), Lucknow.
Similarly, LU has also informed the SSP about the apprehension that protests at Jhulelal Park would disturb the academic environment of the varsity. “We request you not to allow protests at Jhulelal Park as it could lead to involvement of our students in these activities,” stated Pawan Agarwal, LU proctor, in his letter to the SSP. Arts College situated near Nadwa seminary is part of Lucknow University.
Significantly, the concern from the two educational institutions comes barely two weeks after divisional commissioner Sanjeev Dubey sent the proposal of making Jhulelal Park a venue for protests up to 2,500 people to the state government. The proposal suggested using Ramabai Maidan on city outskirts for bigger gatherings.
Jhulelal Park was developed as dharna sthal a few years ago at a cost of Rs. 3 crore. This 25,000 sq m land has the capacity to accommodate 30,000-strong crowds, according to officials. Now that the administration has sent its proposal, it is the state government, which has to take the final call.