PAVAN DAHAT, The Hindu
Hem Mishra, a resident of Almora in Uttarakhand, was arrested along with two others from a bus station in Aheri division of Gadchiroli district on Friday, informed Ravindra Kadam, the Deputy Inspector General(DIG) of Gadchiroli range.
A police press release issued by the office of the Superintendent of Police(SP), Gadchiroli, late in the evening, said Mr.Mishra(30), Pandu Pora Narote(27) and Mahesh Tirki(24) of Morewada village in Etapalli, were roaming around in Aheri area “suspiciously” when they were arrested. All three arrested accused were produced before a Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) court in Aheri and were sent to ten days PCR.
The police press note also mentioned that police recovered “a microchip and some secret Naxal documents”.
“The accused have accepted that they were going to give these documents to Senior Naxal leader Narmada Akka. Pandu Narote and Mahesh Tirki also accepted that both of them were regular couriers of Narmada Akka and other senior Naxal leaders in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh” said the press note.
However, Hem Mishra’s father and his friends from the JNU denied that he was involved in any Naxal related activities.
“He has been studying in JNU for over four years now. He has some serious problems in his left hand but he is extremely active in social and political circles of Uttarakhand and JNU. He is being implicated falsely” Mr.K.D.Mishra, father of Hem Mishra told The Hindu over phone.
Mr.Mishra is a member of Democratic Student Union (DSU) and “a keen cultural activist”, according to his friends from the JNU.
“He was quite keen on tribal issues. He was a part of many fact finding teams and would often visit conflict areas” said Rona Wilson,a friend of Hem Mishra.
Calling the arrest of Hem Mishra “absolutely ridiculous” Banajyotsna Lahiri, an executive member of the DSU said, “He is a well known cultural activist in JNU circles. The entire JNU can testify for him. He was planning to go to Dr.Prakash Amte’s hospital in Gadchiroli for the treatment of his hand”.
But DIG Kadam refuted the claims of Ms.Lahiri.
“Are there no doctors in Delhi? What was the need to come down all the way to Gadchiroli? This is absolutely ridiculous. He was planning to go inside forest to meet some senior Naxal leaders” said DIG Kadam.
Hem Mishra’s facebook page was abuzz with the anti police slogans and “condemning the arrest of Comrade Hem on fake charges by the Maharashtra police”.
“Resist the ongoing witch-hunt of students, intellectuals and activists who dare to stand up against systemic injustice, oppression and state repression” said one post demanding that Mr.Mishra be freed immediately.