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Featured Image: College Square in file photo. 

By Our Newsmen

Hooghly / Kolkata, 1 June: TRINAMOOL will no longer hold public meetings or rallies at College Square, the party head and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced today.

Moreover, her government would soon introduce a law to bar other political parties or organisations from holding similar programmes at College Square, which has traditionally been the nerve centre for all sorts of protests in Kolkata.

With the Chief Minister making the announcement in the afternoon at an administrative review meeting at Hooghly’s Tarakeswar, Kolkata Police in the evening said that it would not grant permission to any public meeting or rallies at College Square with effect from Monday 5 June.

The move is aimed at curbing noise pollution caused by public meetings or rallies at College Square ~ a locality that houses as many as six prominent educational institutes such Calcutta University, Presidency University, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, Sanskrit University, Hare School, and the Hindu School.

The immediate trigger of the Chief Minister’s announcement was an appeal by a student of Calcutta University. Taking part in the CM’s administrative review meeting at Tarakeswar in Hooghly, the post-graduate student said that the meetings / rallies severely affect their studies, and urged the CM to do something about it.

Banerjee grabbed the issue at once saying that it was a “very good suggestion.” “I can understand how much difficulty the students face. Let me announce, now on, Trinamool will not hold any meeting or rally at College Square: Bobby will take care of this on behalf of the party,” she said referring to state urban development minister Firhad Hakim, who was present in the meeting.

In the same breath she announced that entire College Square would be notified as a no-horn, no-mike zone and meetings / rallies would be barred here. “We will promulgate a law for this,” the CM said.

The announcement has triggered a sharp reaction from opposition political parties in the state.

CPI-M’s Md Salim said that being surrounded by prominent educational institutes, College Square naturally always turns out to be the first place in the city to host protests on matters of public concern. “Mamata is trying to snatch this space, but she will not be successful,” he said.

BJP’s Rahul Sinha said that they would not accept any draconian step like this and take to the streets to oppose.