MUMBAI: Thursday morning brought a little more than just sunshine to the Bandra-based Ferreira family. Their son, Arun, was finally home after spending close to five years behind bars at the Nagpur Central Jail and the family members are still struggling to express their emotions.
“It’s been a long struggle for us and we are just glad that we have him back,” said Sanjiv Ferreira, Arun’s brother. Arun, who was arrested along with two others for his alleged involvement in Naxalite activities in May 2007, was later held in several other cases. “The case will continue in the court but at least we have him back home now,” said Fr Allwyn D’silva, Arun’s uncle. As per the law,
Arun will have to report to the Bandra police station every month while he’s out on bail.
While Arun has already filed a petition in the high court against state authorities and police officials for denying him human rights while in jail, D’silva added that they will now keep the campaign for human rights alive. “There is absolutely no law in this country regarding compensation. People are put in jail, made to rot and later, acquitted of all charges. What about all the mental and physical torture that they went through,” asked D’silva, who is the chairperson of the Justice & Peace Commission of the Catholic Church. This organization was working towards garnering support for Arun’s release.
D’silva added that there needs to be some thought by the law authorities before jailing someone without proving him/her guilty. “Even getting bail in this country is so difficult for those who don’t have powerful resources. So many politicians and their relatives get away with the most heinous of crimes, but the common man needs to struggle for the same,” he added. The Ferreira family had visited various politicians as well as police officials for help during the trial.
At present, Arun is glad to be back home and wants to spend quality time with his parents, wife and son. “He missed out on all the precious years when his son was growing up, and he doesn’t want to miss anything anymore,” said his uncle. Arun and the rest of his family refused to interact with media.
On being asked about the action the state is planning to take in this case, home minister R R Patil told TOI, “We will decide our course of action on the basis of the legal opinion.”
Shreya Bhandary TNN