Memorial for freedom fighter cries for attention

The memorial inside Banappa Park. DH PHOTO/SANDESH M S

A memorial built at Banappa Park to honour freedom fighters has become a garbage dumping ground owing to neglect by civic authorities. 

Tucked away in the heart of Bengaluru, the park was the main venue for protests before independence. Bengalureans regularly gathered here to plan and launch demonstrations against the British rule. 

In 1995, a memorial of black granite was built within the park. A spinning wheel was also installed atop it. The memorial has a Kannada inscription on Mahatma Gandhi's dream India. It was inaugurated by the then chief minister H D Deve Gowda. 

The present condition of the park is nothing to write home about. The place is so dirty that the handful of public gatherings that took place here during national festivals have stopped, too. 

Local residents are certain about where the fault lies. Athmanand, who lives in the nearby Cubbonpet area, said the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) failed to act on many complaints given by residents. "Miscreants have stolen the chain, which hung around the memorial, and the floodlights," he said. "They even tried to remove the black granite. The park remains dirty and desolate even on national holidays." 

According to residents, a tiff between two corporators over the jurisdiction of the park is the main reason for this "callous attitude". 

When DH contacted Dharmaraya Temple's BJP corporator Prathiba Dhanaraj and Sampangiram Nagar's Congress corporator R Vasanth Kumar, both of them denied that the park and the surrounding areas fall in their jurisdiction. Nonetheless, Prathiba Dhanaraj's husband, who answered the phone call, promised to get the grants released for the facelift of the memorial in the upcoming BBMP budget. 

For his part, BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar also promised to look into the matter. "After taking charge, I haven't received any complaints about the park. I will inspect the spot this week and see to it that the issue is solved," he told this newspaper. 

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