Friday, February 27, 2009



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BU plans to hold a massive valedictory function for the anti-terror campaign on Saturday. With the JD(S) rally that held the city to ransom still fresh in people’s memory, is Bengaluru readying for another ordeal, asks S. Raghotham

Ben galureans be warned: Do not have a heart attack on Saturday. Because if you do, chances are that you won’t be able to reach a hospital in time. For, Bangalore University plans to hold a massive ‘anti-terror’ convention, for which it expects tens of thousands of students from across the state to converge at Palace Grounds.
Remember what happened on November 17 when Deve Gowda-led JD(S) held a political show of strength at the same venue? The city came to a standstill from noon to midnight, and over a million Bengalureans suffered. Once again, on Saturday, ambulances won’t be able to reach hospitals in time and hapless patients will die on the streets; schoolchildren will be stuck miles away from school and home, and you will see the pathetic sight of these children begging strangers for biscuits and water; and all of Bengaluru will be stuck in one long traffic gridlock with the city police watching helplessly.

Is Bengaluru ready for a similar ordeal once again? To be sure, the high court on Thursday directed the city police commissioner to stick to the commitment he gave to the court in the wake of the JD(S) rally that the police will not allow any rally or convention of more than 15,000 people, and ensure that no such event will cause traffic jams and inconvenience to people.

But in all likelihood, tens of thousands of people will rush into the city on that day, and Bengaluru will sink into chaos. After all, it is a government-sponsored, politically-motivated convention, with the higher education department being in charge. The whole antiterror convention affair smells of impropriety even in its conceptualisation.

A court directive is unlikely to stop them. Just think about it: Before deciding to hold the convention, the ruling party – which is keen to prove its ‘anti-terror’ credentials – has scarcely given a thought to the havoc it would wreak on the city.

The convention is being conducted under the aegis of Bangalore University. This university is notorious for its corruption, ineptitude and low academic standards. It can’t get its examination system right; it can’t get its evaluation system right; it can’t discipline its casteist and goonda elements; it can’t even get its academics right. Yet, it pretends to be at the forefront of an ‘antiterror’ campaign. Just what does it expect to achieve?

Indeed, is it appropriate for a university to conduct a massive convention on an issue on which it has no bearing and to cause misery to an entire city? Isn’t the business of a university something entirely different from what Bangalore University is planning to do on Saturday?

On whose orders or to oblige whom is Bangalore University organising an ‘anti-terror’ campaign? Is it right for the university to not only become roiled in the politics of the State itself, but to politicise even its students?

Who is paying for all the expenses of bringing in the thousands of students from across the State into Bengaluru, putting them up and feeding them? Is it acceptable that so many of them should swarm into this already troubled city and wreak havoc?


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