Studying Networks- Naxalites eyeing Dabbawallahs

The pen drive seized from alleged Naxalite Arun Ferreira contained information about the operational details of the city’s dabbawalas, top officials of the anti-Naxalite unit of Maharashtra Police told DNA Wednesday.

Statistics about Dabbawala’s
1. DABBAWALA’S = lunch-box carriers
2. LOCATION : Mumbai , 120 years Old operation
3. ORGANIZATION : Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association (MTBSA)
4. MEMBERSHIP : 5,000
6. JOB : Deliver home-cooked food to offices in the western Indian city of Mumbai
7. REACH : 200,000 people
8. EFFICIENCY : Their life starts with braving Mumbai’s heat, humidity and peak-hour traffic, reaching the homes of students, entrepreneurs of small businesses, managers, especially bank staff, and mill workers.

Dabbawala’s pushing their cart on mumbai’s streets

Ferreira had been arrested from Nagpur on May 8, along with Murali alias Ashok Reddy, a Naxalite divisional commander. The dabbawalas have strongly reacted to their trade having anything to do with police and security affairs. Raghunath Dhondiba Medage, president of dabbawalas’ association, said, “Ours is a clean and totally transparent system. We don’t tolerate anything even remotely suspicious.”

Anti-Naxalite unit officials have communicated the development to higher-ups in the Home department.


What intrigued the police and security officials was the “interest” of the Naxalite-Maoist cadre in the functioning of dabbawalas — a network which has access to almost every home in the city and suburbs.

“Ferreira’s pen drive contained information about how dabbawalas operated flawlessly within a systemic framework. The information is exhaustive and also lists how the system runs and makes profits,” said Pankaj Gupta, Special Inspector General of the anti-Naxalite unit.

Police claimed that Ferreira, a Bandra resident, was an active Maharashtra state committee member of the Communist Part of India (Maoist) and had considerable influence among the ultra-Left in the state. Other information contained in the pen -drive also revealed “his clear involvement” in the Naxalite-Maoist scheme of things, sources said.

“Information about this particular network (dabbawala) is a worrying development,” said Nagpur Police Commissioner SPS Yadav.

“Perhaps, the Naxalites were planning to infiltrate the dabbawala network and use it to their own advantage,” said a senior Intelligence official on condition of anonimity.

DNA India

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