Mamata Banerjee bans meetings, processions at Kolkata's iconic College Square

Tarakeswar/Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said meetings and processions will not be allowed any more 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 for 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 Hooghly district.

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

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a function at Tarakeswar in Hooghly district on Thursday. PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a function at Tarakeswar in Hooghly district on Thursday. PTI

"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 tomorrow and day after.

No fresh applications from Thursday onward would be entertained, they said.

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

"College Square has been a place for agitations and protests since the days of British rule in the early 19th century. Mamata Banerjee is simply trying to find an excuse to silence us. But such tactics won't bear any results," senior CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty said.

State Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, "The instruction is aother trick to stop opposition from holding protest marches."

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh questioned what Banerjee was doing during the years when her own party staged protest rallies against the central government.

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.

College Street is also known as the 'Oxford of the East' for the innumerable book shops selling old and new books and hundreds of publishers.

Apart from political parties, different associations, NGOs, and pressure groups also use College Square as a spot for protest.

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.

Updated Date: Jun 01, 2017 22:43 PM

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