In an astounding newsbreak that busts the entire 'human rights activists, poets, writers and lawyers arrested' politically-themed narrative that has been built around the Maharashtra Police's recent crackdown on Maoist sympathisers, OpIndia.com has interviewed a former Naxal commander, Pahad Singh, who on August 24, surrendered to the police. Details of this interview and its revelations have been accessed by Republic TV.
About Pahad Singh, OpIndia.com writes that he is 48-years-old and had been a part of the Maoist movement for 18 years -- as a result of which a cumulative bounty of Rs 47 lacs had been placed on his head.
A segment drawn from the interview with Singh that has been published online relates specifically with one of the people who were arrested by the Maharashtra Police -- over which the Supreme Court is currently hearing petitions. That person is Arun Ferreira, who is currently under house arrest, and is not unfamiliar with being arrested on UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) charges, having spent almost five years in jail between an arrest in 2007 and acquittal in 2014.
Remarkably, as OpIndia narrates, Pahad Singh volunteered Ferreira's name himself, speaking about 'knowing some of the people who have been arrested recently', and citing Ferreira as someone whom he had personally met. He came to volunteer this upon first being asked about the methodology of a specific aspect of the counter-narrative -- the appearance of banners that had appeared at Gadchiroli seeking mass condemnation of the arrests.
Speaking about the extent of involvement of Ferreira in those meetings, Singh said, "Arun Ferreira, who is an advocate in Mumbai. I know him. I want to openly tell these intellectuals, come and talk to me about Adivasi Asmita. They should understand the truth, understand the reality. Only then will this world change. These Maoists won't change anything with guns; only Adivasis will be killed.
"So in 2006, Arun Ferreira attended the division convention. He sat with me in this convention, I was made secretary of two areas. These people came in the 2006 convention. Sekhar came, the central committee member who was flown into the jungles in a helicopter after he joined hands with the industrialists."
When asked about how these posters would appear, Pahad Singh cited the 'intellectuals' who are part of the Maoists starting their propaganda. He then said he knew some of these personally, going on to name Arun Ferreira who he said 'had come in 2006' to a division meeting where two 'Central Committee Members (CCMs)' of the banned CPI(Maoist) were also present. The CCM takes orders from the CPI(Maoist) politburo and passes it on to its members, Pahad explained, going on to describe it as the central management of operations deep in the jungle. He said that at such meetings, Adivasis would be instigated.
In this, Pahad Singh's specific claim was that Arun Ferreira was a part of the 'Rajya committee' and continued to 'say what he has to with impunity' even after his release from jail.