Mangaluru: If you drive or go around the City, you will see something different on most of the walls- walls that are defaced with small posters printed in black and white pertaining to Student Body Selection/Election of All College Students Association. Who could be involved in such a act spoiling the beauty of the City. Students-Who else? On one day a group of students join in the project trying to bring awareness about Swachh Bharat or Swachh Mangaluru- and on the other hand few days later, the same students go around in the City defacing public walls with posters. How can you ever imagine India or Mangaluru to be a “Clean India” or “Clean Mangaluru” if we have a younger generation like these. I too was a student, but I never did anything like this-going around pasting posters on neighbors walls.
It’s that time of the year again when the City’s wall and street furniture are defaced with posters of contestants in the All College Students Union elections, when most of the city has nothing whatsoever to do with it. On paper, the law forbids this but in the absence of action against the culprits, City’s denizens can only despair at the helplessness of the law against politically-backed elements. No vacant space is sought to be spared by the civic vandals – public walls, etc etc- and the scars and the disfigurement remain for months, almost till the next election. Seems like despite strict laws against defacement of public places, aspiring student leaders, may be backed by major political parties, have openly flouted them and have pasted posters on public walls, traffic sign boards, street signs, etc etc-posters wooing students candidates to be selected/elected for the Student Council. Hundreds of posters have been pasted everywhere, not just in and around the City and but also at prominent road intersections.
Although the Defacement Property Act 2007 lays down that whoever defaces any property in public by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or any other material, shall be punishable with up to six months’ imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs.1,000 or both. Try telling this to the candidates- they just ignore it. Some say that money easily flows from big political parties, so police avoids getting “involved”. Others say that these student unions have huge political backing and have a different psyche, so the police does not get involved with them. “Hence it becomes difficult to deep a check on them. We are very active on Facebook so that we can make the youth more conscious,” said one law enforcement officer. While the candidates say they are aware of the rules, they argue that it is the only way to reach the students of all colleges affiliated to All College Students Association. “I agree this is a wrong thing and whoever is caught doing this should be punished and strict action taken against them,” said one old student belonging to a reputed college in town.
Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Sunil Kumar-President of Besant Evening College Old Students Association said, ” Looking at the posters pasted on college walls, bus-stands, police post etc, and even on one temple street sign, so some of us belonging to the association decided to remove these posters as much as we could. We feel ashamed to say that our younger students have done such a dirty thing by spoiling the beauty of the City. We only hope that they realize what they did was wrong. We want to bring to the awareness of all students to keep their surroundings clean, and look forward for a ‘Clean Mangaluru/Clean India”. I would like to compliment the members of this Association namely Sunil Kumar, Sushanth, Mohith, Aditya, Rithesh, Murali, Pradeep and Jaidev for taking the initiative of cleaning the mess made by their juniors near Besant College, SDM College and MG Road areas- Good job guys!
Speaking to mangalorean.com, Atmarupachaitanya of Sri Ramakrishna Mission said, ” If youngsters are not conscious of the fact that they are defacing public property by sticking posters that make the city look ugly, it is a sad commentary on our civic consciousness. Some of these students might have even taken part in our Math “Swachh Bharat Campaign”, but now defacing our Mission street sign with election posters is something unacceptable and not a good sign of being a student. It is sad that youngsters are taking the lead in flouting the law. As soon as we remove posters from any site, new posters and hoardings come up. If that’s the case, how can we succeed in our Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. I hope the students understand what they did wrong, and apologize to the concerned people about their act”.
According to a report in a leading English paper stated that a WhatsApp group formed by some college students was abuzz with views as to whether those contesting student body election who have defaced public places with their posters should be given votes-” No Votes for those Who defaced public Places”. The report also stated that a few months ago Ramakrishna Mission had engaged budding artists to paint compound walls of the college with tasteful murals accompanied with meaningful captions, just to prevent defacement of City’s walls. But the student body of the college has defaced it already with election posters over the finely painted surface of the historic college of Mangaluru University. (See pics)
Finally, while I compliment all those who have been selected or elected for the All College Students Association Board, I would like to make a humble request to the Students Body to take an initiative by gathering a group of students, and clean/remove all the posters pasted on public places and do the needful. Thank You!