In October this year, NGT banned all sorts of protests at Jantar Mantar as it violated environmental laws.
New Delhi: In the heart of the city lies a place called Jantar Mantar that was once a crowded lane, but which lately remains totally secluded. It has been a month since the National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned all sorts of protests at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, which was the hotspot for dharnas since 1993.
Protests were a source of income for many vendors in that area. However, after the ban their sales have gone down significantly. Now, only employees from the nearby offices and some auto/taxi drivers can be seen there.
“We were running this shop for quite a long time. People coming here from distant places were our main customers. After the ban, almost 60 per cent of our sale has been affected. Now, couple of people from the nearby offices and some drivers come here,” said the proprietor of Sunny Juice Corner.
This place has three to four food joints where protesters used to flock for meals, but due to the ban their business has declined. Owner of the famous Dosa Corner at Jantar Mantar said in a distressed voice, “There was a time, not so long ago, when we didn’t have a single minute to spare. Quite a number of people used to come here for their meals and we used to be totally packed the whole day. We’ve been badly hit after the ban.”
He further added, “We didn’t discriminate people based on their organisation or protest; we happily served every single person, but now we are in a state of turbulence. No one thinks about our business. Only a third of the people come here now. Imagine how much loss we are facing.”
Jantar Mantar has witnessed hundreds of protests in the past two decades. Some of these were prominent ones, like Anna Hazare’s anti corruption movement and the outpouring of people over the Nirbhaya case. Besides NGOs, groups and individuals, politicians too have protested here. Some of the protesters had even made Jantar Mantar their permanent abode by erecting tents.
In October this year, NGT banned all sorts of protests at Jantar Mantar with immediate effect as it violated environmental laws. The NGT had said it was the duty of the state to ensure that the right of people to live a peaceful and comfortable life was not infringed by those who create noise pollution in the name of freedom of speech and expression.