By Shruti Ganapatye, Mumbai Mirror | Updated: May 13, 2020, 06:41 IST
Vernon GonsalvesThe activist is in Taloja jail, but cops visit his family and inquire about his whereabouts.
The family members of human rights activist Vernon Gonsalves, who is in jail after his arrest in August 2018 in the Elgar Parishad case, on Tuesday complained to Mumbai police commissioner that the Crime Branch was harassing them. They said two police officials visited their house on Monday asking about the whereabouts of Gonsalves.
Objecting to the police visit, Gonsalves’ wife and advocate Susan Abraham expressed anger over the inquiry in the middle of corona crisis. “Police came and started asking my son, Sagar, where Vernon was. This is ridiculous. The whole world knows that he is in Taloja jail. The police also recorded Sagar’s statement,” she said.
They could have sought this information, which is common knowledge, on phone, she said.
“My son, at great risk to his health, sat from 1.30 pm to 2.30 pm outside our housing society gate, recording his statement about his father being in jail, which is already known to the police,” she said.
In a letter to the CP, Abraham said, “The police department is well aware that I am a practising lawyer, and they have my contact details. It would have served the purpose of enquiry to simply call me on phone.”
In his statement to police, Sagar gave details about his and his parent’s profession. He also said that his father was already acquitted in a 2007 case by the court. Later, he was arrested in 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, and is currently lodged in Taloja jail.
Abraham said that she would be sending another letter to the chief justice of Bombay High Court on Wednesday.
Gonsalves was among the nine human rights activists arrested by the police for holding Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017 to commemorate the bicentenary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The other activists are Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Professor Soma Sen, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bhardwaj.
The police claimed that the Elagar Parishad led to violence at Bhima Koreagon the next day. The case is now being probed by the National Investigation Agency.