The Pune police on Tuesday detained 4 alleged Maoist sympathizers, viz., Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Arun Ferreira, in what is being called as the biggest crackdown on ‘Urban Naxals’
Among them, cartoonist and activist Arun Ferreira, a St. Xaviers , Mumbai alumnus was picked by the police from his Thane residency. Ferreira has been facing the heat since almost a decade after he was first arrested by the Nagpur police due to alleged links between him and the Naxals in 2007.
Ferreira made it to the headlines in 2007 after he was arrested by the Nagpur police for having alleged connections with the Naxals. He was later charged with a total of 10 cases that included violence and several other Maoist conspiracies.
In the four years in prison, several other cases were slapped against Ferreira after which he was released on bail in September 2011. However, he was soon arrested for the second time with fresh charges which also fell out after which he was released on bail in 2012. Following this, he was acquitted of all charges in 2014.
Following his acquittal, Ferreira pursued law from the Siddharth Law College and practiced law from 2016. Soon after beginning his career in law, Ferreira became a part of the 'Indian Association of People's Lawyers and the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights.
Ferreira was detained by the Mumbai Police on Tuesday. He was also the lawyer of Sudhir Dhawale and had accused the Pune police of fabricating papers to link Bhima-Koregaon incident with Maoists. All search warrants and detentions were carried out under anti-terror UAPA law and IPC sections 153A, 505(1)(b), 117, 120(b) and 34.
Top police sources have told Republic TV all those detained “are members of the core committee group of urban Naxals and that they were involved in almost all the Naxal activities happened in the recent times”.
The top Pune police sources have also told Republic TV that Rona Wilson and other accused in the month of June were used to report to these people.
The said people were detained following a raid carried out by the Pune police on the residences of people suspected to have Maoist links. The raids were in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence.