🚶 Right to protest in peril?

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Activists allege the government’s move to regulate protests to avoid traffic violates their rights.

Story so far: Since the 1940s, several parts of the city like Central College, Maharani’s College and Freedom Park have witnessed protests. They’ve helped bring reforms in the past 20 years. People have been exercising their right to protest in these areas. Now, that could be under threat.

  • The state passed the Licencing and Regulation of the Protests, Demonstrations and Protest Marches Order, 2021. It outlines when and where people can protest. 
  • The order came after the High Court’s direction in hearing a complaint about protests causing traffic jams.

Criticism: Activists have criticised the order saying it violates their right to protest and freedom of speech and expression. One activist cited the 2016 protest by garment workers that got national attention as an example of how protests were useful.

Space for protests: For decades, the space for protest and dissent has been shrinking. For example, the road in front of Vidhana Soudha is now out of bounds for protests. Some are worried that Freedom Park will go the same way.

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