03 March, 2021

With Wing Clipped

A desperate state is making Maoists out of innocents

Apoorva Salkade
With Wing Clipped

Arun Ferreira smiles easily. The four years and eight months of incarceration, as an alleged Naxalite/Maoist, sit lightly on the 40-year-old quintessential Bandra boy. Released on January 5 from Nagpur Central Jail—acquitted in 10 of the 11 cases and bailed in one—Ferreira is taking his time to readjust to his life with family and friends in Mumbai. He must build anew the relationship with his son, who was barely two-and-a-half years old when he was arrested on May 8, 2007. And everyday technology, like mobile phones, is no longer what he remembers it to be. “I tried texting and I was all thumbs,” he says. “There’s some adjustment to do there.” Ferreira’s wife Jennifer, a sociology lecturer, didn’t visit him in jail for months for fear of being arrested as a Maoist sympathiser too.

Ferreira’s easy manner and smile belie his personal pain, and the weighty larger issue of political prisoners, individuals arrested and tortured for holding and propagating ideologies. Ferreira is a...

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