Demonstrations made more difficult in Uttar Pradesh


Lucknow : Barely 24 hours after Lucknow University denied permission for a meeting to be addressed by social activist Anna Hazare May 1, the Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday issued an order making the staging of protest demonstrations more difficult.

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The order makes the procedure stringent for seeking permission to stage a demonstration, “dharna” or procession.

The move comes prior to Anna Hazare’s proposed visit to Varanasi, Sultanpur and Lucknow from April 29 to May 1,

The new procedure involves getting no-objection certificates from different authorities and also an undertaking from the organisers that they would bear the costs in case there was any loss or damage to public or private property.

Even as the state’s official spokesman denied that the move was intended to prevent Anna Hazare’s visit, the organisers here said that the local administration had been sitting over their formal request.

“The decision was taken in the larger interest of the people, who were often put to much inconvenience on account of road blocks, rail blockades and overcrowding of streets”, Principal Home Secretary Fateh Bahadur told a press conference here.

“All, including political parties, would be held as much responsible for the loss or damage to property as any private individual or organisation”, the home secretary said.

He went on to add that “in case of default by the organisers, the costs would be recovered as arrears of land revenue.”

He added: “We have no intention to curb the democratic right of people to agitate or to demonstrate. But we have to take the decision in the wake of an order of the country’s apex court, that had laid down regulations to prevent disruption of normal life and even possible violence on such occasions.”