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CCP commissioner states that no decision has been taken on prohibiting public protests at Azad maidan

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Sanjit Rodrigues the Commissioner of Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) has by an official

letter intimated Adv. Aires Rodrigues that the CCP has not taken any decision

regarding prohibiting public protests or agitations at Panaji’s Azad Maidan.





The CCP Commissioner’s response

is after Adv. Aires Rodrigues on 24th December last year served a

legal notice on the Chief Secretary of Goa, the North Goa Collector and the CCP

Commissioner over the reported move to prohibit any public protests at Azad

Maidan while stating that it was very high-handed and outrageous besides a blatant

assault on democracy.





Stating that CCP Mayor Uday

Madkaikar on 17th December had publicly stated that no

agitation would be allowed at Azad Maidan and that it would be denotified as

place of agitations, Adv. Rodrigues had in his notice stated that interestingly

while Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on that very day had stated that it was a

decision taken by the CCP and not the Government, that Mayor Uday Madkaikar had

publicly voiced that the idea to denotify Azad Maidan as a place for agitations

came from the Chief Minister.





Pointing out that Azad Maidan

is to Panaji what Hyde Park is to London, a venue for public protests and

public meetings, Adv. Rodrigues had in his notice stated that for decades Azad

Maidan has been a place for public meetings and people’s protests on wrong

doings by the government.





Recalling that from the 1979

historic student agitation for 50 % bus concession that over the last over four

decades he was personally part of various protests at Azad Maidan, Adv. Rodrigues

in his notice had stated that the Right to peacefully demonstrate is enshrined

in the Constitution of India and that this fundamental right cannot be taken

away by any authority.





Adv. Rodrigues in his notice had

also drawn the attention of the authorities that in 1985, when the then Panjim

Municipal Council (now CCP) had leased out Azad Maidan to the Delhi based All

India Stall Holders Association to run a sale exhibition for eight months, that

he was able to successfully move a petition before the Collector that Azad Maidan

being one of the few lungs of the city be left free for public use and that the

Collector directed the exhibitors to immediately vacate Azad Maidan which

decision was upheld by our High Court whom the exhibitors had moved challenging

the order of the Collector.









Stating that Azad Maidan has been

over the years where aggrieved citizens have congregated to raise their voices

against injustice and to demonstrate on various issues concerning Goa, Adv.

Rodrigues in his notice had sought that  Azad Maidan must remain truly

Azad, free from any repressive tactics by the powers to be.









While seeking that the authorities

act immediately and revoke any decision to prohibit public protests at Azad

Maidan and allow the venue to continue to be used for public demonstrations and

agitations, Adv. Rodrigues in his legal notice had sought that Azad

Maidan remains free and open for public protests and demonstrations.

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