‘Arun would never work against India’
One look at Jennifer Coutinho tells you she has hit turbulent times. Her cheeks are bruised from a recent motorbike accident, there is a blood clot in the right eye, and a heavy tiredness sits on her as though worries run far deeper than one would guess.
“My husband would not do anything against the interest of the people or the country. He is a man of great integrity and well-read. He would not have done anything that they (police) claim he has,” said Jennifer, wife of alleged Naxalite Arun Ferreira on Monday.
Thirty-four-year-old Bandra resident Arun was arrested on May 8 along with three others by the Nagpur police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, used for non-bailable offences. The police said the pen drive that he abandoned when they arrested him, and which they later recovered, contained strategic information and details of secret meetings.
Jennifer, who is still recovering from the motorbike accident during her vacation in Ahmedabad, will meet Home Minister R.R. Patil on Tuesday.
“In my absence, the police searched my entire house on May 14. They have taken floppies and CDs which contain nursery rhymes and pre-school programmes for my child. They have also taken books, subject notes and even my child’s photographs,” said the 33-year-old sociology lecturer. “I want the police to return whatever they have taken.”
About the pen drive seizure, she said: “Who does not have a pen drive these days.” Jennifer is contemplating moving the high court. “I am still figuring out what exactly is happening. I will be meeting the lawyers soon and then decide the next course of action,” she said.
She told HT that for almost 10 years, Arun, a Xavierite, worked with the Adivasi Shetkari Shetmajdoor Sanghatana and networked with organisations working for tribal and peasant rights.
Jennifer, who got married to Arun in 2000, said she found it difficult to believe that her husband was being called a Naxalite. “I know him well. A wrong impression has been created. Arun has been passionate about working with the underprivileged. He was not scared about anything,” she said. Jennifer will soon go to Nagpur to meet Arun.