'Soft-spoken and well-read,' that's how Arun Ferreira remembers Yakub

Speaking to mid-day after a protest against the death sentence for 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, activist Arun Ferreira remembers him as a mild-mannered prison inmate with a penchant for books

“Yakub was always well-mannered,” recalled activist Arun Ferreira from shared time at Nagpur Central Jail. Ferreira is a member of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, from which a few members had yesterday staged a demonstration at Dadar station, protesting against the death penalty for 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon.

Protestors were not just against a death sentence for 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, but were against capital punishment altogether (Insert) Arun Ferreira. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Protestors were not just against a death sentence for 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, but were against capital punishment altogether (Insert) Arun Ferreira. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

“After his conviction by the TADA court, Yakub was held in one section of the Phasi yard, while I for other reasons was imprisoned in a cell in another section. Inmates from either section rarely interacted. However, on festivals like Eid, we were allowed to greet each other,” said Ferreira.

“Well-mannered interactions are quite rare in prison, and almost impossible with those on death row. The long wait for death is agonising and devastating, and causes heightened anger. Yakub was an exception almost always mild-mannered and soft-spoken,” Ferreira said, adding, “He had a large collection of books and often gave me some good novels to read.

From our few and limited conversations, I noticed that he had immense faith in the system. Probably that was one of the main reasons he chose to surrender and cooperate with his captors rather than abscond.”

The protest
The Matunga police yesterday broke up a gathering of demonstrators outside Dadar railway station, rallying against 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon’s death sentence. The cops arrested 28 persons in connection with the protest and put a bandobast in place at the spot by 5 pm.

The protestors were members of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR), including a few eminent journalists, lawyers and activists. Protestors were not just against a death sentence for 1993 blasts convict Yakub Memon, but were against capital punishment altogether.

“All the protestors were detained and held at the Matunga police station for nearly two hours, after which they were released on personal bonds. They were arrested (for unlawful assembly) under Section 143 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 37 (5) of the Bombay Police Act,” said a police officer, adding that 14 males and 14 females had been detained.

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3 Comments

  • guru29-Jul-2015

    Not a word for the hundreds that have died in Mumbai over the years, in terror incidents. What is so special about Yakub that inspite of being found guilty, he should be spared. Inspite of knowing that the blasts were to happen, he kept mum and is an abettor in one of India's most serious crimes.

  • Syed Ahmed31-Jul-2015

    he is no more why discus now life is very short . if he is guilty then justice is done otherwise he is winner.

  • Prof Anand29-Jul-2015

    What about the root cause that devoured five times more innocent lives for which responsible people were named by the shrikrishna commission. Is it not known that bal Thackeray instigated mobs to carry out massacre of Muslims. Nobody denied Yakib is criminal but his crime does not deserve death. To hang him is nothing but the judicial murder done with religious prejudice in this so called secular country!Irhnx

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