A day after the Supreme Court intervened in the arrest of five activists in connection with the Bhima Koregaon clashes on January 1, writer Vernon Gonsalves and lawyer Arun Ferreira returned to their homes on Thursday.
Gonsalves and Ferreira have been placed under house arrest till September 6 and on Thursday, policemen were posted in both Gonsalves’s residential society in Andheri East and Ferreira’s complex in Charai Thane.
According to Gonsalves’s wife and advocate Susan Abraham, two security guards have been stationed outside their 1BHK flat and others are in their residential society. A team of Mumbai and Pune police will be stationed outside his house.
Gonsalves’s son Sagar said: “I am happy that the Supreme Court took cognizance and directed for a house arrest. The last time he was arrested, he was behind bars for five-and-a-half years, despite getting acquitted of most charges.”
On August 18, 2007, Gonsalves was arrested under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act and The Arms Act. He was in prison till 2013.
In Charai Thane, seven-storey Sharon apartment, between Kabad Ali and Dhobi Ali, saw a lot of activities on Thursday. Fourth floor resident Ferreira, who had been arrested by Pune ATS, had returned home.
Thane police personnel guarded the main gates of the society as media persons thronged the place. “He is under house arrest until the next hearing. No one is allowed to meet him,” said a constable posted near the gate. While neighbours had difficulty getting in and out of the building, none of them protested. “They are not stopping us for wrong reasons. They have their own orders. I just hope nothing untoward happens here,” said a resident of the building.
On Wednesday, 37 organisations issued a collective statement demanding repeal of UAPA and an inquiry into the raids conducted in the houses of human right activists.