Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, on Wednesday claimed police detained him as he left home to commemorate Quit India Day at Mumbai’s August Kranti Maidan. Social activist Teesta Setalvad in a tweet claimed she was stopped from leaving her residence and that noted freedom fighter G G Parikh was also prevented from reaching the August Kranti Maidan.
Tushar Gandhi, Setalvad and Parikh were supposed to participate in the ‘Shanti March’ rally from Girgaon Chowpatty to the August Kranti Maidan. A police official said when Tushar Gandhi came out of his residence in suburban Santacruz, he was told that he cannot go to participate in a rally for which permission was denied. He was later allowed to visit the August Kranti Maidan, the official said.
“For the first time in history of Indipendent India I have been detained at Santa Cruz Police Station as I left home to commemorate 9th August Quit India Day. I am proud My Great Grandparents Bapu and Ba had also been arrested by the British Police on the historic date,” Tushar Gandhi tweeted. A police official later said Tushar Gandhi reached the Maidan.
Tushar Gandhi was expected to participate in a rally, which was to be held from Girgaon Chowpatty to the August Kranti Maidan, he said. As he tried to leave his residence at around 7.45 am, a team of Santacruz police personnel waiting outside his building told him that permission for the rally was denied due to law and order issue and he cannot participate in it, the official said.
Tushar Gandhi then returned to his residence, he said. The police later allowed him to visit the August Kranti Maidan and offer tributes, the official said.
Tushar Gandhi later in a tweet said, “Fear in our society is so palpable. I got Into a Riksha at Santa Cruz Police Station after I was allowed to go. When we reached Bandra I hailed an old Muslim taxi driver to take me to August Kranti Maidan, He saw the police car & panicked told me ‘Saab mujhe nahi fasna’,” he tweeted.
“Took a lot of convincing to reassure him. This is the malady afflicting our society today that’s why #Nafraton_Bharat_Chodo_Mohobbat_Se_Dilon_ko_jodo is necessary,” he added.
Setalvad in a tweet claimed she was stopped from leaving her residence and that Parikh was also prevented from reaching the August Kranti Maidan. She tweeted some photographs of police personnel present outside her residence in the morning. A police official said permission for the rally was denied and a written communication about it was sent to the organisers.
The activists were asked to attend the event (to pay tributes) at the August Kranti Maidan if they wanted to, but the rally was not allowed due to law and order and security-related issues, the official said. Setalvad later reached the August Kranti Maidan to pay tributes. Parikh paid tributes at the statue of Lokmanya Tilak at Girgaon and left from there, he said.
Earlier in the morning, the D B Marg police in south Mumbai detained more than 20 activists who had gathered to participate in the rally near Girgaon Chowpatty, another official said. All the activists were later let off, he added. The Quit India movement is a major milestone in the history of India’s struggle for independence from the British rule.
On Wednesday, people visited the August Kranti Maidan and offered floral tributes at the Gandhi Smruti Stambh to mark the 81st anniversary of the Quit India movement.
This is the ground from where Mahatma Gandhi gave the clarion call of ‘do-or-die’ for independence.
The movement in August 1942, with Mahatma Gandhi’s call for immediate independence, was launched at Mumbai’s Gowalia Tank, which later came to be known as August Kranti Maidan due to its association with the historic occasion.