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

Jul 29, 2015, 12:03 IST | A Correspondent

“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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