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Fewer protests at Dharna Chowk

Fewer protests at Dharna Chowk
Highlights

Dharna Chowk which has become the symbol of Democratic right, it is place that reverberates with hai...hai… slogans. The very mention of the name will pump up adrenaline in activists. The birth place of many movements, one that makes politicians dread and reporters rush, one that makes police to be on toes all the time.

The place for democracy has seen less activity post tabling of Telangana Bill

Dharna Chowk which has become the symbol of Democratic right, it is place that reverberates with hai...hai… slogans. The very mention of the name will pump up adrenaline in activists. The birth place of many movements, one that makes politicians dread and reporters rush, one that makes police to be on toes all the time.

Rousing speeches that berate the government and promise even the moon, devoted supporters who wave the flag and even are ready to take a hit, police searching for any sight of aggression are a common sights here. All days might not be action-packed and eventful but Dharna Chowk always attracts protestors.

Dharna Chowk

On Friday, the area is near empty barring a few, who were taking out the pitched tents. Yadagiri, a supplier of tents and carpets said, “I have been supplying tents here for about a decade and off late there isn’t much activity.” Activists and NGOs opined that the place hasn’t seen many protests since the AP re-organisation bill was passed in the parliament but hoped that protests will intensify in due course.

“The last big rally or a protest that happened here was Congress leaders protesting ordinance on Land Acquisition act on February 21 and prior to it was the pride walk by the LGBT community. There is a lull in activity,” said Nayeem of Basthi Vikas Manch. Hawkers on the stretch who eke out their living catering to the protesting parties are hoping that the place regains its lost glory.

There are plethora of thirst quencher vendors, who have set up temporary stalls are mainly dependent on the income they earn from selling tender coconut water, fresh lime soda and sweet sugarcane juice. “I usually sell 150 to 200 coconuts when there are dharnas. Now the sales are down to 50,” said Venkatayya, who has been selling coconuts there ever since the dharna chowk came into existence.

Echoing the same opinion Kavitha, who has been selling lemon soda for nearly 10 years said, “When there are dharnas, my take-home is between Rs200 and Rs.300 every day. But these days, the business has come down.” So dependent are these vendors on the protesters that sometimes when the protests are ‘indefinite’, ‘relay’ or extend late into night, some stay put. “There were some occasions when we slept here all night till the protests ended,” nonchalantly remarked Venkatayya.

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