ESG helped initiate the sensational Save Cubbon Park Campaign during September 1998 in collaboration with Sanmathi women’s group, fighting against encroachment aided by the Legislators and the Government of one of Bangalore’s landmark and historic park spaces. The issue that started with ESG calling for people’s involvement snowballed into a major movement that saw daily rallies by thousands involving students, community organisations, professional organisations, etc. for over a month. Due to such wide public pressure the High Court was compelled to stay the Government order to de-notify a major portion of the Park and divert it for building.
This resulted in a controversy, bringing the Legislature in loggerheads with the Judiciary for intervening to stay the Government’s order. The Judiciary whilst staying the operation of the Government notification had also called for a ban on protests against the Government action and this resulted in a civil rights debate in the National Press with human rights activist Justice H. Suresh criticising the Court for curtailing civil rights as well. ESG enabled a symbolic protest against this “ban” as a threat against the Right to Express, even as it impleaded into the ongoing litigation to protect the Park permanently. The High Court has dismissed this petition during August 2001 and ESG proposes to appeal this decision in the Supreme Court.
This campaign was supported by leading theatre personalities including Jnanpith awardee Mr. Girish Karnad, Ms. Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Justice H. Suresh, Justice Nittoor Srinivasa Rao and other artists, writers, students, academicians, and community based groups.
The Save Cubbon Park Campaign was widely reported across the country and inspired a wave of protests and alliances against the encroachment of public spaces by predatory businesses, politicians and communal forces.
- Note on the ongoing Cubbon Park denotification (8KB)
- Impleading Application in High Court of Karnataka (83KB)
- Annexures to Impleading Application (39KB)
- Rejoinder to Impleading Application on Cubbon Park (26KB)
- Letter to His Excellency Shri Khushid Alam Khan, Governor of Karnataka, January 30, 1999
- Letter to His Excellency Shri Khushid Alam Khan, Governor of Karnataka, March 04, 1999
- Letter to Royal Norwegian Embassy, March 05, 1999
- March 04, 1999: Governor calls for people’s action to protect Cubbon Park
- January 30, 1999: Citizens renew Cubbon Park Protest: Seek Governor’s intervention in calling a Public Hearing
- January 29, 1999: “Save Cubbon Park Campaign Continues” – Press Invitation