Hem Mishra, a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and executive member of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) was arrested along with two others by the Gadhchiroli police in Aheri on Friday morning for having alleged Naxal links. The two others identified as Mahesh Tirki and Ram Purate belong to Murawala region.
Although reports of his arrest have been rife in some sections of the local and national media since this morning, the police had neither confirmed nor denied his arrest. However, speaking to TEHELKA, DIG Ravindra Kadam has now confirmed the arrest. “A courier from senior most female Naxal leader Narmada Akka was recovered from Mishra apart from other ‘incriminating material’ and he was seen moving around suspiciously in the area for two days prior to his arrest,” he said.
Mishra was produced before the local magistrate and has been remanded to ten days of police custody. However, there is no clarity on the charges framed against him yet.
Mishra hails from Uttarakhand and is a student of Center for Chinese Studies, in School of Language Literature and Cultural Studies at JNU. He is also a prominent cultural activist and singer and is a part of the Democratic Students’ Union and Revolutionary Cultural Front.
“I was informed about Hem’s arrest last evening by a friend of his. Yet, there has been no official communication from the police. My son is a student and a cultural activist and there is no clarity on why he has been arrested,” said Hem’s father KD Mishra, a retired school teacher. He added that the last time he spoke to Hem was a week ago.
Activists have lashed out at the claims made by the Gadchiroli police. “The police claims to have recovered ‘incriminating’ material from him, then why aren’t they being open about it? Also, why did they not provide clarity on his arrest until Saturday evening? The DIG claims that he was arrested on 23 August morning somewhere at Aheri and was produced on 24 August before the court. But as far as we know Hem Mishra is incommunicado for at least three days. This is a standard operating procedure of the police. They pick up someone from somewhere and show the arrest somewhere else,” said Rona Wilson of Committee for Release of Political Prisoners.
DSU’s executive committee member Banjyotsna also came forward in Hem’s support. “Hem is physical challenged and has undergone repeated surgeries in his left hand. He had left Delhi early this week to enquire about the possibilities of free treatment at Prakash Amte’s People’s hospital in Bhamaragarh,” she said. His father too confirmed the possibility of Hem visiting Amte’s hospital for treatment.