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BENGALURU : People in Bangalore wishing to raise their voice against injustice have one less place from where to do so. The city’s civic body on Saturday passed a resolution to ban protests outside the iconic Town Hall, where many demonstrations have been staged.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) aims to now direct such protests to other locations in the city such as Freedom Park and Maurya Circle. Most protests in Bengaluru are held at Town Hall, Freedom Park, Maurya Circle, Mahatma Gandhi statue and the Mysuru Bank Circle.

The majestic Town Hall building in Bengaluru, which was inaugurated in 1935 and was named after former Bengaluru municipality president K.P. Puttanna Chetty, had become one of the de facto protest sites in Bengaluru. However, the BBMP remains steadfast in its decision to ban such protests, the civic body’s commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar, said on Sunday.

The elected BBMP council has passed a resolution to ban protests outside the Town Hall. Now, the commissioner will have to sign off on this. “The resolution will be sent to me and will perhaps reach me by Monday. I will then sign it and send it to the police commissioner," Anil Kumar said.

“There has been a drop in booking and events at Town Hall. It is a major corridor between the city’s northern and southern parts and any disruption there will unnecessarily hamper movement of traffic," he said.

The decision of the city corporation, where members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are in a majority, comes at a time when there has been a spate of demonstrations and rallies outside the building, especially over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“There are no designated places of protest but some places become commonly used for protests only by virtue of practice," a human rights activist and advocate said, requesting not to be named.

Activists said that the BBMP has no right to ban protests that have sanctity of the Constitution. Article 19 and 19(2) of the Constitution, which allows freedom of speech and expression, does not mention loss of revenue as one of the reasonable restrictions as a limitation in the clause, said the activist mentioned above.

Activist groups are gearing up to challenge the resolution in the court.

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