Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Naxal: say police, a loving dad: say in-laws, a social worker: say neighbours.

Arun Ferreira with his son (centre) and a relative

Arun: The student

A brilliant student from St Stanislaus School, Bandra, and St Xavier’s College, near Dhobitalao, Arun is a first class BSc graduate.

His first brush with social activities came in the ’90s after the infamous Elphinstone College rape case (a student was raped by her classmates during a garba festival. The girl’s father withdrew the complaint bowing to pressure).

Arun led the protests launched by a students’ union Vidyarthi Pragati Sanghatana (a leftist outfit), who have now pasted posters at St Peter’s Church, Bandra, in protest.

Arun fell in love with Jennifer and married her five years ago. Jennifer teaches Sociology in a college in the western suburbs. They have a two-year old son.

MiD DAY talks to some people who have known Arun for years to find what he is really like...

Poster protest... Put up by the students’ union Vidyarthi Pragati Sanghatana at St Peter’s Church, Bandra

“Arun wanted to serve society from a very young age. So, he wanted to become a priest.

He stayed at the Papal Seminary in Pune for a few months to pursue his dream, but did not want to be caged within the four walls of the church.

He wanted to work with the poor,’’ says a neighbour, who was also a close friend of Arun’s father Thomas.

The base: Arun Ferreira's residence on St Martin's Road, Bandra

in Bandra

His immediate family, including his uncles Hadrien and Mathew, know Arun as a brilliant boy who did “some kind of social work”.

He never attended family functions, but uncle Hadrien is sure his nephew cannot be a Naxal.

What people say: A Nagpur police officer takes notes based on Jennifer’s uncle Rudolf’s testimony


Jennifer’s uncle Rudolf Coutinho doesn’t believe he is a Naxalite. “He’s a family man. Arun is very fond of his son.

He was in Thane with us and used to go to Pune, Nashik and Nagpur for social work. He was involved with issues of the scheduled castes and farmers,” says Coutinho.

The search is on... Yesterday, two officers from the Nagpur police visited Jennifer’s residence in Thane. Jennifer is in Ahmedabad, but they spoke to her uncle Rudolf. The police found 24 books on Sociology, a few books on social work, a CD on the life of revolutionaries and some documents

The police insist Arun is the chief of communication and propaganda of the ultra Left wing of the Naxals.

He, along with three others — Murali alias Ashok Satya Reddy, the divisional commander of north Gadchiroli-Gondia-Balaghat and Rajnandgaon division, Naresh Bansod and Dhanendra Bhurle have been arrested.

They were trying to make Nagpur their headquarters and planning to create law and order problems on July 14.

The Nagpur police have booked him under sections 10, 13 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1969 and sections 353 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

at a glance

The term comes from Naxalbari, a village in West Bengal, where
a section of CPI (M) led by Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal led a violent uprising on May 25, 1967, to develop a revolutionary opposition against the party leadership.

Ideologically, they belong to various trends of Maoism. Initially, the movement had its epicentre in West Bengal. In recent years, they have fanned into underdeveloped areas such as Chattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

The Naxalites intensified their insurgency this year and are now active in half of India’s states in an attempt to encourage a peasant revolt in response to a government plan to expropriate large tracts of peasant land in eastern India to create special economic zones.


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