Mixed reactions

Jan 07, 2012, 07:09 IST | Sudeshna Chowdhury

It was an emotional reunion for Yvonne and Thomas Ferreira, who were re-united with their son, Arun Ferreira after four years.

It was an emotional reunion for Yvonne and Thomas Ferreira, who were re-united with their son, Arun Ferreira after four years. Shunning media attention, the Ferreiras decided to spend some quality time with their son at their apartment in St Martins road in Bandra (W), after he was released on bail on Wednesday. "It was the best New Year gift I could have asked for," said Yvonne, Arun Ferreira's mother on Thursday night.

'Free Arun': Posters opposing the arrest of Arun Ferreira were put up
in Bandra after he was arrested

Arun, an alleged Naxalite was arrested in 2007, but was acquitted of various charges in 2011. He was about to be released on September 27, last year. The same day, Arun was whisked away in a police jeep outside the Nagpur Central Jail. "It was a painful experience," said Yvonne, who thought she would never see her son again. "Naturally, we were quite unsure of his release. You never know," she added. When asked whether one could speak to her son, Yvonne said, "He is very tired now. He needs to rest. We will hold a press conference within a day or two. Right now the whole family is just too emotional and happy to have Arun around."

Released on bail: Arun Ferreira at his home in St Martin's road, Bandra

Arun is an alumnus of St. Xavier's College in Mumbai and St Stanislaus School in Bandra. Said Faust Gonsalves (70), Arun's neighbour, "I am happy for Arun's parents. But, I am concerned about Arun. Last time also he was whisked away on the very day he was about to be released. This time, too, the police can press some charges and take him away." A close friend of Arun's father, Gonsalves believes that Arun has been framed in this case. "I believe that he is innocent. The Ferreiras are extremely religious and god fearing people. I don't think the alleged Naxalite connection can be true. At least I can vouch for it," said Gonsalves, who remembers all the media action near Arun's house at St Martin's road, the day he was arrested.

Long wait: Jennifer, wife of Arun Ferreira

Mani Patel (67), an activist from Bandra too believed that Arun was innocent. "He comes from a well-known family. I don't think that he is capable of such an act. I got to know of Arun's arrest in 2007 through the newspapers. After going through the reports, I immediately called up the chairman of H West ward federation (which includes Bandra, Khar and Santacruz) and insisted that they should support Arun in every possible way.
As a lay person, I believe that proper legal procedure in this case was not followed and he was framed." While some neighbours openly supported the family,  others shied away from the media. When asked about Arun, one of his neighbours who stays in the same building shot back, "We don't know him and don't ask us anything."

Anthony Henriques (89), from St Martin's road in Bandra said, "We are good neighbours , but we have never discussed about Arun as this is a very touchy subject. Let the law take its course and am sure the truth will come out." Brenda Pereira, another neighbour, said, "Let the law decide. I can't say much." Most of his neighbours abstained from visiting the Ferreiras saying, "Let the family spend some quality time. We don't want to bother them."

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