Mangaluru, Nov 24, 2019: In a blow to the organisers and participants of a kite flying event protesting the incomplete construction of the Pumpwell flyover in Mangaluru, the city police denied permission for the event scheduled to be held on Sunday.
The event organisers had dubbed the event as ‘Nalin Galipata Campaign’ after Dakshina Kannada MP and BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel.
The campaign was directed at the BJP leader since the flyover has remained incomplete for over 10 years despite his repeated assurances.
However, police officials of the Kankanady police station denied permission for the event citing the Ayodhya verdict, which was delivered on November 9, as a reason. “In the backdrop of Ayodhya verdict and in the interest of maintaining the law and order in the city, the senior police officials have denied permission for protest event ‘Kite Flying Open to All’,” a police official said on Saturday, a day before the event was set to take place.
The denial of permission for the event at the last minute has left the organisers – Mangaluru City Corporation Civic Group – and other citizen groups in the city fuming.
Speaking to The News Minute, Advocate Dinesh Hegde Ulepady said that expressing discontent with public work is the right of every tax-paying citizen. “As long as the organisers don’t use microphones and assure maintenance of public order, they don’t need to worry about police permission. Moreover there is peace over the Ayodhya verdict, so the police objection for the protest is meaningless. Maybe a particular political party is concerned whether the popularity of the kite flying would affect its prospects in the upcoming polls. Otherwise, the police reply to the protest is questionable, because the subject of the protest is purely concerning DK jurisdiction, not Ayodhya or any bye-poll,” he said.
The organisers of the event told The News Minute that they had submitted a letter to the Kankanady police station on November 20 intimating the police and requesting protection for a peaceful kite flying event. The organisers say that they received an acknowledgement of the letter, but on Saturday the police denied permission for the event.
“Since the verdict by the Supreme Court, there has been no law and order issue in Dakshina Kannada and controversies surrounding the same are non-existent. So there was no rational reason behind the curtailment of the kite flying event,” the organiser added.
According to the organisers, 25 participants had registered to fly kites over Pumpwell flyover, scheduled to take place on Sunday 5 pm, and more people were expected to enrol on the spot. “The denial of permission happened just a day before and looks like our dissent has been stifled indefinitely by the police to patronise the ruling government, to which the MP Nalin Kumar Kateel belongs,” an activist added.
The flyover in Pumpwell was granted a letter of approval in 2009. Nalin Kumar Kateel, a three-time MP from Dakshina Kannada, was first elected from the constituency in the same year. He subsequently won from the constituency in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.
The flyover, which lies at the intersection of National Highway (NH) 66 and NH 55, was officially slated to be inaugurated on March 31, 2013. But six years on, the work is yet to be completed.
Recently, Nalin Kumar Kateel said that the pending works on the flyover will be completed by December 31, 2019 and it will be inaugurated in January 2020. “The work of the concessionaire is being constantly monitored by the district administration. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), which has extended funds for the completion of the project to NUTPL, is also overseeing the project. We are confident that it will be completed before the deadline,” Nalin Kumar Kateel said.
Courtesy: The News Minute