Friday, May 18, 2007

Cops try to gauge extent of Naxalite spread

Anupam Dasgupta
Friday, May 18, 2007 09:11 IST

Police are also keeping a watch on Arun Ferreira’s wife Jennifer

After the arrest of Bandra resident Arun Ferreira, the Anti-Naxalite unit of the state police is now trying to find out the extent of Naxalite activities in cities across the state.

An officer said Ferreira was “attached” to a city-based group, having strong Naxalite affinities. Ferreira’s wife Jennifer too is under the scanner. Police are keeping tabs on her “activities” to get an idea how pro-Maoist groups are operating in the city and other parts of the state. Last year, the State Intelligence Department had blacklisted 59 city NGOs for funding the Naxalites.

Earlier, officers from the Anti-Naxalite Unit had told DNA that the Maoists operate within cities like Mumbai, Thane and Pune after registering their existence through proxy students and labour organisations.

Ferreira was, however, a member of the Vidyarthi Pragati Sangathana (VPS) that operates from an “undisclosed location” near Byculla. An officer said on Thursday that VPS had kept its activities “skillfully” under wraps.

Another organisations that operates in the area is the Akhil Maharashtra Kamgar Union (AMKU), which too has ultra-Left leanings. Ferreira promoted AMKU activities in several parts of the state, another officer said.

“We are trying to find out Ferreira’s links with other fellow comrades across the country,” special inspector general of police (Anti-Naxalite operations) Pankaj Gupta said.

Intelligence Bureau officers along with police officers from Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are now interrogating Ferreira about his “nature of work” and other activities.

“Ferreira’s ideological proximity with a few banned underground pro-Naxalite groups has been proved. A few documents seized from him during his arrest are a testimony to this,” said an IB officer.

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