Row over auditorium on college ground goes to police

Row over auditorium on college ground goes to police

The construction of open air auditorium is in progress at Government arts college ground, near KR Circle.

The controversy over the construction of an open-air auditorium on the playground of the Government Arts College near KR Circle intensified on Wednesday with police coming into the picture. 

The Department of College Education, which runs the college, is opposing the auditorium, saying it's "illegal" and that students will be deprived of the only sports area. Actor-turned-politician Bhavana Ramanna, who is the brain behind the project, maintains that the project is "perfectly legal" as it was sanctioned by the Siddaramaiah government and that the Kannada and Culture Department is funding it. She says it will be used for art and cultural activities. 

Construction stopped a few days ago after college authorities objected to the project on the grounds that Bhavana doesn't have documents in support of her claim. 

On Wednesday, Bhavana got the police to act on a complaint she had filed on June 8, 2018. She has accused two physical education teachers — Dr Ravikumar and Shashikumar — and Shivashankar, a government contractor, of abusing her and threatening to demolish the structure overnight if the construction isn't stopped. 

The department filed a counter-complaint on Wednesday, accusing Bhavan of trespassing on government land and urging the police to stop the construction and provide security outside the college.

Bhavana arrived at the college at 11.30 am and asked labourers to resume the work, saying she has all the documents. But the college faculty and students raised objections to it. A few minutes later, the jurisdictional Halasuru Gate police arrived on the campus carrying a copy of Bhavana's complaint. 

"This is a government project and will remain on the campus. The college authorities can also use the auditorium. I am not laying claim to this land," she said. "I am just doing my bit to promote art and culture as a senior artist. I will take legal opinion and fight for this project." 

S Malleswarappa, college principal and a director of the department, refuted Bhavan's claims. "This is nothing but trespassing on government land. As teachers, we have the right to question the trespasser. She doesn't have any written order from the Department of Collegiate Education. Without the order, how can she start the work," he told DH

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