Police Foil Mumbai Peace March Against Hate, Detains Activists

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Activists took an oath “to live by the traditions of our freedom struggle and continue to defend our country and our people.” 

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — The Mumbai police on Wednesday foiled a peace march against hate. The march by prominent activists was organised to coincide with the freedom struggle’s historic ‘Quit India Movement’ of 9 August.

Feroze Mithiborwala, an activist and one of the organisers, told Clarion India over the phone from Mumbai that the event marking ‘Quit India Movement’ is held every year at the August Kranti Maidan. The organisers decided to hold the annual event this year too and decided to also focus on violence in Manipur and Haryana.

“From 8 to 8.30 am, we were all detained. Hence, the march could not be held. We asked the police to explain the logic behind not allowing us to hold the march which we held every year. They said that they can’t explain the reason. We were told that if we didn’t stop, we will be ushered into the waiting police vans and taken to the police station. We were detained and taken to the police station,” said Mithiborwala.

Tushar Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Teesta Setalvad and freedom fighter G.G. Parikh were among the activists who were prevented from attending the event. Around 50 activists were detained at D.B. Marg police station.

Reacting to his detention on the X platform (formerly Twitter), Gandhi said: “For the first time in the history of Independent 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 that historic date”.

Gandhi also narrated a story of a Muslim taxi driver, who refused to take him to Kranti Maidan after he saw some policemen.

“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, and told me: “Saab mujhe nahin fasna (I don’t want to get involved). Took a lot of convincing to reassure him. This is the malady afflicting our society today…,” he tweeted.

Mithiborwala told Clarion India that the activists were released after the government’s event on the Quit India Movement ended. In the event, there was no photograph of Mahatma Gandhi and talk against the Britishers. “This is the first time BJP-RSS is commemorating the Quit India Movement which their ancestors opposed,” said Mithiborwala.

The peace march by activists was not allowed at the August Kranti Maidan as the government was holding the event there.

In a press statement, the activists described the police action as “unprecedented”.

“This unprecedented crackdown on this historic day of our independence movement has only strengthened our resolve to continue to resist this attack on our democratic and constitutional rights. On this day, we take an oath to live by the traditions of our freedom struggle and continue to defend our country and our people,” reads the statement.

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