Millennium Post

No more meetings, processions at College Square: Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said meetings and processions will not be allowed anymore at the iconic College Square in Kolkata, as it disturbed students of nearby educational institutes.

Banerjee made the announcement taking note of repeated complaints of disturbance by students.

"I know it (meetings, slogans, processions) creates disturbances to the students of Calcutta University, Presidency College (now University). I agree with you. Your demand is genuine. You write a letter to the city police commissioner," she told research scholars of Calcutta University, who were invited to attend an administrative meeting at Tarakeswar in Hoogly district.

The research scholars had drawn her attention to regular disturbances created by meetings, processions in that area.

"Political parties should think about it. I too held meetings there. But Trinamool Congress will not hold any meeting there henceforth. Everybody should follow it," she said, adding a law would be formulated to this effect.

Just hours after Banerjee's announcement, Kolkata police officials said the restrictions to holding meetings and processions in and around College Square will be applicable from Monday and those who had earlier applied for programmes there will be allowed on Friday and Saturday.

No fresh applications from today would be entertained, they said.

Opposition leaders cutting across party lines reacted sharply to Banerjee's instructions.

Mohammad Selim of CPIM pointed out that College Street had been the hub of political activities even before Independence and rejected such a proposal.

College Square, located along the College Street, is part of Kolkata's heritage and is near various reputable and oldest educational institutions of the country such as Calcutta University, Presidency University, Sanskrit College, Hindu and Hare Schools, besides the Calcutta Medical College.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, College Street and College Square were synonymous with the Naxalite movement as several students of Presidency College and Calcutta University joined the armed struggle.
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