| Members of the Federation of All Meghalaya Ad hoc Secondary School Teachers Association gather near the Raj Bhavan in Shillong on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Sept. 2: Shillong, the nerve centre of Meghalaya that houses the powers-that-be, is in dire need of a “Jantar Mantar” to allow its citizens to make their voices heard.
The Jantar Mantar area in Delhi has been specifically demarcated for protesters where groups from all over the country can hold their demonstrations and voice their demands.
The city administration is usually caught in a dilemma whenever various groups approach it for permission to hold demonstrations. While it has to ensure that the democratic rights of the citizens are not curtailed, the lack of space in the vicinity of the secretariat to allow sit-ins leads to unpleasant scenes at times between police personnel and protesters.
Despite the lack of space, the administration has allotted an area near the All India Radio premises close to Raj Bhavan a few months ago to act as a temporary “Jantar Mantar” for protesters.
The area is not too far away from the secretariat but the voices of protest emanating from the area, more often than not, fall short of reaching the seat of power.
At the same time, whenever the spot is converted into a rendezvous for protesters, commuters have to face the brunt, as the area has always been a busy traffic route.
The East Khasi Hills district administration, which has to ensure that protests in the city pass off peacefully, has written to the Meghalaya government to allot a plot that could be turned into a permanent venue for demonstrations.
“We have written to the state government to provide us space where we can provide an area for demonstrations,” East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal told The Telegraph.
He said space was needed for those who wished to hold peaceful demonstrations but as of now no field or playground was available near the secretariat.
Goyal said the permission to hold demonstrations was being given with several riders.
A few years ago, the state government had proposed to demolish the existing offices of the public works department near the civil hospital to convert the entire plot into a Jantar Mantar-like area for holding of public meetings and demonstrations.