The re-arrest of Mumbai-based Maoist leader Arun Thomas Ferreira by the police on Tuesday has triggered sharp reactions from the ‘political prisoners’ lodged in the Nagpur central jail.
About 115 such Nagpur central jail inmates will observe a one-day hunger strike on Thursday
(September 29) in protest against the alleged high-handedness of Nagpur and Gadchiroli police.
Ferreira, whose release was ordered by the sessions court on Tuesday, was immediately re-arrested by the anti-terrorist squad (ATS) when he stepped out of the prison. He was later taken to an undisclosed location.
But ATS declined any role in Ferreira’s re-arrest. “We have not arrested him. He might have been re-arrested by the Nagpur police on different charges,” said Milind Totade, inspector, ATS.
Ferreira and senior Maoist Murali alias Ashok Satyam Reddy were arrested on May 8, 2007 at Nagpur for allegedly trying to hold a secret meeting here at Deekshabhoomi. They were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Arms Act and section 353 of the Indian Penal Code (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty).
However, the sessions court acquitted Ferreira and others in this context. The prosecution failed to prove their Naxal credentials and association with the banned CPI (Maoist) or involvement in unlawful activities. “Ferreira was acquitted in as many as 10 cases. The police re-arrested him on some other charge,” alleged Surendra Gadling, Ferreira’s lawyer.
Gadling informed that the jail inmates have already informed the jail authorities about their hunger strike on Thursday.
Jail superintendent Vinod Shekdar was not available for comments.
Earlier, 12 political prisoners, particularly the suspected naxalites lodged in Nagpur central jail, went on an indefinite hunger strike in April 2008 against the alleged torture and harassment by the state police.