A Uttarakhand native and student of Chinese language in JNU was taken into police custody in Maharashtra on Friday for allegedly working as a courier for Maoist rebels.
The arrested student, identified as Hem Mishra, was remanded in police custody for 10 days after being produced in court in Maharashtra, sources said on Saturday.
Mishra was arrested in the Gadchiroli district of Nagpur division where he was said to be investigating alleged police atrocities against locals of the area. He was part of a 25-member fact-finding team of Left parties.
Mishra was arrested along with a local lawyer Surendra Godling.
The sources said that Mishra was allegedly working as ‘Narmada courier’ in one of the three sub-groups among the fact-finding team. His group had six members.
Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra is part of the infamous ‘Red corridor’ and has recorded considerable Maoist activities in the past.
As late as April this year, four Maoists were killed along with one police personnel and two others in an encounter with the Maharashtra police.
The ‘Red corridor’ is a belt affected by Maoist insurgency and spreads across Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal .
Uttarakhand police on Saturday only confirmed the “arrest of one resident of Almora” but did not say whether he was Mishra.
“We have received information about the arrest of an Almora district resident in Gadchiroli. The matter is under investigation,” was all said inspector general of police, intelligence Deepakjyoti Ghildiyal, told Hindustan Times when asked about the arrest.
Meanwhile, a local social activist and chief of Uttarakhand Jansangharsh Vahini (UJV) Samsher Singh Bisht has claimed that he received an anonymous phone call from Maharashtra on Friday confirming Mishra’s arrest in Gadchiroli.
According to Bisht, the anonymous caller asked him to inform Mishra’s parents about the arrest.
Bisht said that Mishra, son of a retired school teacher, was a “vibrant social and political activist” of People’s Student Federation (PSF) in Almora while pursuing his graduation here. “He was instrumental in building a strong cadre of PSF in Almora before shifting to JNU for pursuing higher studies,” Bisht said.
Jeevan Chandra, a member of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDM) has criticised the arrest of Mishra and said he was being victimised by the police.