While India paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 65th death anniversary, the place where his ashes were immersed on February 8, 1948, at Arnala beach lies unattended and is in a dilapidated state.
Historian Seema Rao said, “Gandhiji’s ashes were immersed on February 8 and the memorial was built on October 2, 1956, by the Arnala Stambh Samiti. The ashes were immersed here because three rivers (Triveni Sangam) connect to Arnala and hence, it’s considered a holy place.”
The place where the memorial is built is now surrounded by grass and shrubs. Also, residents of the villages nearby defecate there in the open without the least regard for and knowing the value of the Mahatma’s memorial.
“We are not provided with toilets and hence, we have to use this open space as a toilet. No one comes to this place because of the tall grass, so, woman feel safe to relieve themselves here,” said Indutai Pawar, a local.
Arnala village’s sarpanch Archana Patil said, “We have tried several times to put up a fence around the memorial but the locals dismantle it and use the place to defecate. We have also told authorities repeatedly to beautify the place but they just ignore our pleas.”