Asit Das asit1917 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 8 07:31:52 CDT 2013

We, the undersigned teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University strongly
condemn the arrest of Hem Mishra and the subsequent framing of him by the
Maharashtra Police as a ‘prominent Naxal courier’. Hem was till recently, a
student of JNU, in BA Chinese and a known student and cultural activist. He
was abducted by the Maharashtra police sometimes around 20th August, kept
in illegal custody for some days and then sent to ten days of police
remand, which has now been shockingly extended. He was neither produced
within 24 hours of his arrest in court, nor was his family informed about
the arrest. We are appalled to know that he was not even allowed to meet
his lawyer in custody and that bolsters the possibility of him being
physically and mentally tortured in custody. The police have not been able
to produce any evidence against Hem for his alleged crime and yet they
continue to keep him behind bars.

Arbitrary arrests and framing of democratic rights and cultural activists
is nothing new. The intolerance of the state is exemplified by the fact
that any voice of dissent or protest is being consistently met with similar
repression, slapping of bogus charges and incarcerations. We strongly
condemn such false framing of activists and demand Hem’s immediate release.

    Prof. Ayesha Kidwai, SLL&CS, JNU

Prof. T.G. Suresh, SSS, JNU

Dr. Tahir Asghar, SIS, JNU

Dr. D.K. Lobiyal, SCSS, JNU

Dr. Moushumi Basu, SIS, JNU

Dr. Pradip Shinde, SSS, JNU

Dr. Ajay Gudavarty, SSS, JNU

Dr. M.N. Thakur, SSS, JNU

Dr. Vivek Kumar, SSS, JNU

Dr. Y.S. Alone, SAA, JNU

Dr. Sangeeta Dasgupta, SSS, JNU

Dr. Y.C. Rao, SSS, JNU

Dr. S. K. Kejriwal, SSS, JNU

Dr. Renuka Singh, SSS, JNU

Dr. Avinash Kumar, SSS, JNU


Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy, SIS, JNU

Prof. Nivedita Menon, SIS, JNU

Prof. Chamanlal, (retd.) SLL&CS, JNU

Prof. Avijit Pathak, SSS, JNU

Prof. C.P Chandrashekhar, SSS, JNU

Prof. K.J. Mukherjee, SBT, JNU

Prof. Mohan Rao, SSS, JNU

Prof. Arun Kumar, SSS, JNU

Prof. A.K. Ramakrishnan, SIS, JNU

Prof. Tanika Sarkar, SSS, JNU

Prof. G.Srinivas, SSS, JNU

Prof. Supriya Verma, SSS, JNU

Prof. Rohan D’Souza, SSS, JNU

Prof. Arun Kumar, SSS, JNU

Prof. Deepak Kumar, SSS, JNU

Prof. M.S.S. Pandian, SSS, JNU


Shri Sushil Kumar Shinde

Home Minister,

North Block

New Delhi


*Sub: Against the Arbitrary Arrests and frame up of Hem Mishra and Prashant

Sometime between the 20th and the 23rd of August, Hem Mishra, who was till
very recently a student of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and is a
member of Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) and Revolutionary Cultural Front
(RCF) was illegally arrested and detained by the Maharashtra State
Police. At the beginning, the police did not produce him within 24 hours of
his arrest. Later after being pressurised by media persons they
acknowledged that he has been arrested as a ‘prominent Naxal Courier’. This
is a ludicrous claim. Hem is a known students and cultural activist in
Uttarakhand and Delhi who has been working for the people by raising social
issues since his early days in student activism. He is a physically
disabled person.  Being a sensitive activist and having heard a lot about
the Lok Biradari Hospital run by Dr. Prakash Amte, where it is said more
than 60000 people visit a year, Hem wished to visit this place in
Bhamaragrh. Possibly he was also keen to know if there is any treatment for
his persistent pain in the left hand where he had undergone two major
surgeries from Vellore in Tamil Nadu. At some point in his journey, he was
illegally detained on the 20th August 2013 and till his arrest was declared
on the 24th August 2013 he was tortured physically and mentally by the
police. He was remanded to police custody for ten days during which time he
was not allowed access to a lawyer which is a gross violation of his
constitutional rights. It was also reported in the media that two adivasi
youths, by the name of Mahesh Tirkey and Pandu Narote were simultaneously
picked up by police and were also shown as ‘Naxal Couriers’ along with Hem.

The police are not even disclosing under what charges exactly he has been
booked. The only thing that the police have claimed so far is a recovery of
an ‘encrypted microchip’ which they have clearly implanted on him. Even on
such spurious and baseless grounds he continues to remain incarcerated.
Although the police has not officially made it clear what are the charges
they have slapped on him, they have informed the local media that a range
of cases from several sections under UAPA, sedition, extortion, etc. will
be placed on him.

Hem is a well-known student leader and cultural activist. By branding him a
‘courier’ for Naxals, the police and the media intend to spread fears among
young activists, threaten people’s leaders, and silence all voices of
dissent. This illegal arrest of Hem, denying information to his family and
finally producing him before a magistrate three days later and denying him
lawyer even within police remand, clearly shows the impunity enjoyed by the
Maharashtra state police to spread fear of custodial intimidation and
possible torture of a known activist.

 On the 2nd September, a freelance journalist and people’s activist in
Uttarakhand, Prashant Rahi, was picked up by the police somewhere in
Chhattisgarh  and then shown as arrested in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.
Prashant Rahi was on his way to visit political prisoners in the various
prisons of Chhattisgarh. Media sources and independent civil rights
activists confirm that Prashant Rahi was arrested from near by the Raipur
Court, Chhattisgarh. He was then produced the next day morning in
Gadchiroli, Maharashtra in front of the local magistrate. He has been
remanded along with Hem Mishra to police custody for fourteen days. This is
a pre-meditated move from the side of the investigating agencies to
incriminate both Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi in a case together. Prashant
Rahi a people’s activist was arrested and charged under 121, 121A, 124A,
153B, 120B IPC and section 20 UAPA and was under trial at the Session Court
of Rudrapur, Uttarakhand. After languishing in the prison for 3 years and 8
months, he was released on bail on August 21, 2011. Since
then he managed to stay in Rudrapur as his trial was continuing there and
was supposed to conclude this month end. It goes without saying that the
arrest and possible frame-up of Prashant can also prejudice the trial that
is about to conclude.

The arrests of Hem and Prashant are not isolated cases. The arbitrary and
illegal arrests of activists like Jayeeta Das in West Bengal, the arrest of
cultural activist Utpal Bashke from Ranchi, the hounding and attack of
Kabir Kala Manch activists by the lumpen goons of ABVP, the brutal killing
of RDF Vice President Ganti Prasadam in Nellore in July, and the banning of
RDF in Andhra Pradesh are all part of the undeclared war on people
codenamed Operation Green Hunt taking on an urban avatar where activists,
students and intellectuals are targeted for voicing the genuine demands of
the people.

RDF strongly and unequivocally condemns these arrests and detention of
people’s activists on fabricated charges and protests this form of
repression by the Maharashtra state police and the Indian state. RDF
demands the immediate and unconditional release of Hem Mishra, Prashant
Rahi and the two other adivasi youths.

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