<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Armed with the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) order in this regard, the Delhi Police and the civic bodies’ officials uprooted the tents put up by various groups of protesters at Jantar Mantar, in the heart of the national Capital, on Monday.Citing the violation of environmental laws, the green panel had on October 5 banned all protests around the historic monument, which has become a hotspot for agitations over the last few decades. The NGT directed the authorities to shift the protesters to an alternative site at the Ramlila Maidan, Ajmeri Gate.Meanwhile, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar on Monday sought a report on its order after the Delhi Police counsel informed it that the site has been cleared and all make-shift and temporary structures have been removed.Among hundreds of people who were evacuated from the site were the ex-servicemen, who have been demanding implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. According to them, the NGT’s order was “an attempt to throttle our voice in a democracy”. Group Captain Vinod Kumar Gandhi said that after the NGT order, the Delhi government was supposed to provide an alternate place but that has not been done yet.”Ramlila Maidan is not a convenient place for protesters as there is no place to eat and no washrooms. The charges there are Rs 50,000 a day, which is unrealistic for a common man,” Gandhi said.The former servicemen also alleged that they were forcibly detained and were manhandled by the police. “The police damaged our tents and manhadled 15 of us. They were detained unlawfully. This action amounts to curtailing our freedom of speech. The citizens have no place to protest peacefully,” Gandhi added.At the same time, the Ramlila Maidan wore a deserted look. “So far, we have not received any application for a no-objection certificate. An NOC from the police is also required before we allow anyone to hold a protest at the site,” a senior North Delhi Municipal Corporation official said.HELPLESS PROTESTERS SLAM DECISION AS A DANGER TO DEMOCRACY ‘Govt denying us our right to protest’Rajkumar Singh, 57, resident of Loni in Ghaziabad, has been on an indefinite protest at Jantar Mantar since October, 2015. Singh, his wife, and their 22-year-old mentally challenged son had been sitting on the road near Parliament Street police station for two years, before being removed on Monday. The family has been seeking justice for their older son, who was allegedly murdered by his business partner in 2013. “Instead of listening to our plight and ensuring justice, the government is trying to deprive us from even the right to protest.” Singh rued. “The murderers of my son have forcibly occupied our home. We have been silently protesting here. I pull rickshaw throughout the day to feed my family and to buy medicine for our other son,” he said. The family, which had adopted two street dogs in the area, is worried about them as well. “Who will take care of them now?” asked Singh’s wife Shobha. The family does not plan to move to the Ramlila Maidan. “Who will pay such a high charge? We have already suffered a lot,” Singh said.‘We’ve no home, nowhere else to go’ Brahmdev Ram Gupta, a resident of Dhanbad in Jharkhand, was among those who were thrown out of the Jantar Mantar in the Capital on Monday. Gupta, his wife, and three children, including a 9-year-old girl, have been protesting against the “caste-based” violence that they suffered back home. Gupta and his wife both have bruises on their bodies. “We were thrown out of our own home by some goons and we were beaten brutally. We somehow or the other managed to save ourselves and come to Delhi to seek the government’s help,” he said. The family was left bewildered when the evacuation drive started. “We are new to the city of Delhi. We don’t know where to go now. And we can’t afford the rent at Ramlila Maidan,” Gupta said. The thought of returning to Dhanbad sends a shiver down the family’s spine. “How can we go back? We have nothing there. I will have to search for some work now,” the 55-year-old said.‘Govt wants to end protest culture’Sanjay Kumar, a social worker, who has been sitting on dharnas, on and off, since 1996, joined a handful of people sitting on the Parliament Street after being evacuated from Jantar Mantar on Monday. Kumar, who works as a newspaper hawker, termed the NGT decision a “danger to democracy”. “The government is well aware of the fact that the people sitting on dharnas are really poor and will not be able to afford the charges at Ramlila Maidan,” he said. Claiming that no protester was willing to move to the Ramila Maidan, Kumar said, “The protesters eat at Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, which is a kilometre from here. There are trees and toilets here. How will people protest themselves from the hot sun and the cold during peak summers or winters at the Ramlila Maidan? Who will provide them food?” he asked. “If there is no access to food and shade, who will protest beyond one day? They just want to put an end to the culture of protest in the Capital,” Kumar added.
View original post here –