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ATS will recruit from minority community: Himanshu Roy

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 – 06:00 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Himanshu Roy, who is going to take over the charge of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Tuesday, said he would change the misconception among people that a certain community was being targeted.

Roy also said he would rope in more people from the minority communities in the ATS. This, he said, would help in bringing about the change and also aid investigations. Currently, there are hardly any policemen from the minority communities in the ATS. Their recruitment would also help in understanding various documents written in Urdu.

Roy is filling in the post left vacant by Rakesh Maria, who has been appointed promoted to the post of the Mumbai police commissioner.

Replying to a question about the not so good equation between the ATS and the crime branch, Roy said that the two are sister agencies and they work together. Roy had the longest tenure at the crime branch. “My crime branch tenure will definitely give people confidence while I am in ATS,” he added.

Roy also said that he would take all preventive steps, including human and technical intelligence, to avert any untoward incident. He added that frequent public meetings would be conducted to hear citizens’ problems and solving them would be their priority.

Measures will be taken to improve relations with all the intelligence agencies working in the country as terrorism is a problem that has to be dealt with together, he said.

 

Read more here – http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-ats-will-recruit-from-minority-community-himanshu-roy-1963019

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#India- Maharashtra police has no understanding of Naxalism’- Vernon Gonsalves

Maharashtra police has no understanding of Naxalism

A rare interview with Vernon Gonsalves, who was jailed for six years on the charge of being a Naxalite.

 

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com

On August 19, 2007, Vernon Gonsalves was picked up by the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad from Mumbai‘s Andheri East suburb on charges of being a top-level Naxalite leader with a sinister plan and for possessing explosives.

Almost six years after being jailed and despite the stiff defence put forth by his advocate wife Susan Abraham, Gonsalves was convicted under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Arms Act in 2007 by District and Additional Sessions Judge P M Dunedar. But since he had already undergone incarceration for the period that he was sentenced, he was released immediately.

Going by his educational qualifications, professional record, no one would believe that Gonsalves — a trade unionist, a strong believer for justice, writer and social activist — could be spearheading the outlawed group.

In an exclusive interview with Rediff.com, Gonsalves recounts in detail to Neeta Kolhatkar his arrest, the case against him and his future plans

Can you recall the day you were picked up?

I did not expect this sort of incident. I was put up in a totally fabricated and false case. The kind of sections that were slapped on me (laughs while narrating this), Arms and Explosives Act, attempt to murder….

I would have expected Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, but not these sections. When one is in the social sector organising people and writing about it, there is a lurking feeling at the back of one’s mind, of one being arrested.

I should not have been so naive to believe that the State could go to such levels to arrest a person.

Can you please recount the day when you were first picked up? One day before your official arrest as has been shown?

It was a Sunday and I had gone up our lane to drop my son Sagar. Susan was out on some work; she had given me a list of chores to finish.

My first stop was the chemist shop across the road and there was no indication of any police cars or vans. As I was about to cross, I felt a car coming close to me.

The door opened immediately and another screeched to a halt. Two men came and forced me to sit inside the vehicle. I felt like I was being abducted.

Although it was a Sunday, there were a few people. So I screamed for help and some came forward. Immediately, the police shouted, ‘Hum police hai (we are the police),’ and the bystanders backed off.

My shirt was torn, my spectacles fell down and broke, and immediately I was covered with a black veil.

At the outset two officers began questioning me in Telugu. Even then I was convinced it was some sort of mistaken identity. That gave me an indication that the manager of this operation was from Andhra Pradesh.

I blurted out in Marathi, ‘My name is Vernon Gonsalves.’ I asked them to take me home. I realised they had been probably fed some information and I was whisked off to some place.

It was a little later that I understood that it was the ATS (Anti-Terrorist Squad) lock-up at Kala Chowky (in south-central Mumbai).

I kept asking them who were they (they were all in plainclothes) and that if they were the police I insisted they took me to court.

Once I was taken to the lock-up I was thrown in a cell and the veil was removed.

How did they treat you, question you? You had complained they used force. Did the ATS torture you?

There were no indications of a normal prison there. I was seated on the floor, which had chains and I was handcuffed. In fact, I told them that the way I was picked up, brought and treated, ‘I fear you will finish me in a fake encounter.’

It was pointless talking to them. When they asked me for information, I told the police that it was pointless talking to them if they thought of killing me.

The Andhra Pradesh officers got a whiff that I had no connections, that is when they began roughing me up. They hit me behind the neck.

They stood behind me, asked questions and kept hitting me. I insisted that they did not look like police when they asked me some names; we had reached a stalemate.

That is when ATS officer Parambir Singh came in. He promised me that they had no intention of killing me in an encounter, especially anyone with Naxal links.

I then reminded him that there could always be a first killing of sorts. That’s when the police started on a new line. They blindfolded me, put me in a vehicle and took me around the city.

Were you aware of your surroundings, as to where you were being taken? How did you remain alert?

I kept my cool and did not react. When such things have already happened to you, a certain kind of coolness overcomes you.

I realised that the police were putting up this drama to give me the feeling of an encounter. So I began to concentrate on the sounds outside.

All the while I knew they were taking me away to some suburb. I knew they never took me into the heart of the city. After a while, they realised it was taking them nowhere and brought me back.

At night they shifted me to the MIDC police station (in north-west Mumbai). When I was taken there I didn’t know the location, but while taking me out of the station they had not covered my face and eyes tightly and I realised I was somewhere near my house.

At 12.30 am, they brought me home. Till then, I was persuading them take me to the court or my house where we can talk. I need to know what all this was about. So this was a relief… at least there won’t be any encounter.

What transpired at your house? How did the ATS find the so-called explosives they accused you of harbouring?

 

Susan was at home when they brought me. Sagar was studying; he too was awake. At least they were seeing me. They kept me in a separate room and began searching the house. They picked up CDs — they even took Sagar’s game CDs — and went through our computer.

Susan had case files regarding Dr Binayak Sen, the doctor who was detained in Raipur in Chhattisgarh on charges of sedition — those were taken. They took books, even those that they did not understand. They just took them (laughs heartily). This went on till 6.30 am.

The first indication of my arrest in a case they had made up came when they gave a letter to Susan. Susan showed it to me. I expected to be arrested under UAPA, because it has a broad spectrum. But instead they booked me under the Arms Act, accused me of harbouring explosives like gelatine and detonators.

I am aware of the law. It was evident that the police had some other agenda. They said, ‘There can be others too. So this is the broad case with various sections.’

It was only the next day in court that I saw Sridhar Srinivasan for the first time. He too was arrested on the same charges.

Did the case stand in court at the outset? Did the court believe the fabricated sections?

Moreover, how did the court and later the police react when you raised the issue of physical abuse in custody?

I was picked up 1.30 pm on Sunday, but in court they showed it as 4.30 pm and that too from Govandi (in north-east Mumbai) (laughs aloud). As for witnesses, they did not even get any real neighbour from our area.

Read more here— http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/exclusive-interview-maharashtra-police-has-no-understanding-of-naxalism/20131021.htm?sc_cid=twshare

 

 

 

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Press Release and teachers’ statement on Hem Mishra, cultural activist’s arrest

Press release

Today various students’ organizations like DSU, AISA, AISF, SIO, Krantikari Naujawan Sabha, Paribartankami Chhatra Sangh, United Dalit Students’ Forum, All India Backward Students’ Forum, Revolutionary Cultural Front, Viplab Sanskritik Manch, krantiukari Sanskritik manch, political organizations like CPIML(New Democracy), Inquilabi Majdoor Sangh, and noted journalists from Uttarakhand Suresh Notiwal, Charu Tiwari, poet Ranjit Verma, DU professors Rakesh Ranjan, Ish Mishra, Anirban Kar and various students and activists from Delhi Uttarakhand and Punjab came to gether to protest against the unjust and illegal arrests of Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi. All the organizations unitedly condemned the arrest and demanded their immediate release. Hem’s father KD MIshra who had visited Hem, informed that Hem was picked up on 20th august from Ballarshah in MAharashtra, the police informed them on 23rd august, produced him in court on 24th august, and shown the arrest from Aheri. Hem was also tortured in the first three days of illegal custody and now he has been booked under UAPA, Section 120 (B) of IPC and sedition charges. The police are still refusing him to meet his lawyer till he is in Police custody.

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.

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. Prashant proclaimed infront of the magistrate that he was abducted by the police in Raipur, Chhattisgarh while the police claimed he was arrested from Maharashtra. The police is spreading virulent false lies to club Hem and Prashant, and trying to implicate them both in false cases.

We strongly condemn the false arrests and framing of student, cultural and democratic rights activists and branding them as ‘maoist’ courier. A memorandum was submitted to the home minister against this. in the coming days we are going o take up various other rprogrammes till Hem and Prashant are released.

—-REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRATIC FRONT

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PRESS RELEASE- Arrest of Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi – Silencing voices of dissent

COORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION – (CDRO)
Press Statement – 4th September 2013
Arrest of Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi:
Silencing voices questioning violation of fundamental rights

The CDRO strongly condemns the arrest of Prashant Rahi and Hem Mishra, accusing them of Naxal links. Though the exact date of Hem Mishra’s arrest is yet to be ascertained, he was most probably picked up by the police around around 15th August. Prashant Rahi was on the other hand was arrested on the 2nd September. The allegation against both of them is that they were carrying some documents/ literature. Both have been charged under the notorious Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA]. Both are serving a long period of police remand without being provided a lawyer.

Hem Mishra had been active with a student organization in Uttarakhand before coming to Delhi, when he obtained admission at the Jawaharlal Nehru University. In the year 2007/08, a number of activists involved in organizing youth and the rural poor in Uttarakhand were arrested on the allegation of Maoist links. So potent was the terror unleashed, that few would dare to question the allegations or meet the arrested persons for fear of being implicated. Hem Mishra, handicapped in one hand, was the person who visited all the arrested in jail and helped them get legal support. One of the arrested at that time was Prashant Rahi.
Prashant Rahi (52 years) worked as a journalist in Uttarakhand. He was also passionately involved with a host of protest movements ranging from issues of forest-dwellers, and of rural labour, to the displacement by the Tehri dam. Arrested in December 2007, alleged to be a most-senior Maoist leader, Prashant was kept in solitary confinement through most his 3 year 8 month stay in the jail. Once released on bail, Prashant took upon himself to visit those imprisoned as Naxalites all over the country and to help them obtain access to a lawyer. To this end, he was regularly travelling to across the country collecting details of cases and reaching the same to lawyers.

That there is no real allegation of any crime against both Hem Mishra and Prashant Rahi, it is evident from the fact that both have been charged solely on the basis of the UAPA. For, it is this law that makes normal social and political activity into a crime solely on the whims and fancies of the police. Banning of political organisations and converting any association with such organizations and their opinions into a crime is what opens the gates to the law becoming an instrument of injustice.

In addition, the illegal, yet reasonably settled practice of the police of not registering a panchnama at the time of the detention, makes it difficult to ascertain the exact date, time and place of arrest. Such unlawful detention leaves much scope for abuse. It is ironical, in cases where UAPA is applied, courts have been less critical of the blatant violations of procedure, in the name of larger security concerns.

Thus while the alleged “crime” as well as the circumstances of the arrest remain suspect, a vilification campaign has been mounted by the police that masquerades as information in the newspapers. No doubt, that this has become the preferred method to silence those working for basic civil liberties and implementation of fundamental rights.

Another favourite practice of the police has been to foist new cases against accused, especially under the UAPA and its previous incarnations, when those accused are either released on bail or else when acquittal in the existing cases is at hand. This has been done ad nauseum to frustrate the bail or acquittal orders of the court and has not yet found serious criticism from the judiciary. In the case against Prashant Rahi too, no incriminating evidence has been found against him in the case in Uttarakhand and he would be acquitted soon.
We therefore demand the immediate dropping of all charges under the UAPA and the immediate release of those arrested.

KRANTHI CHETANYA (APCLC, ANDHRA PRADESH), PARAMJEET SINGH (PUDR, DELHI), PARMINDAR SINGH (AFDR, PUNJAB), PHULENDRO KONSAM (COHR, MANIPUR) AND TAPAS CHAKRABORTY (APDR, WEST BENGAL)(COORDINATORS OF CDRO).

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-prashant-rahi-who-was-trying-to-help-cases-of-political-prisoners-arrested-wtfnews/" target="_blank"> #India – Prashant Rahi, who was trying to help cases of political prisoners arrested #WTFnews
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-hem-mishra-jnu-student-sent-to-10-days-police-custody-in-gadchiroli-wtfnews/" target="_blank"> #India – Hem Mishra- JNU student and 2 others sent to 10 days police custody in Gadchiroli #WTFnews
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/press-release-condemn-arrest-of-hem-mishra-and-witchunt-by-maharashtra-police-dsu/" target="_blank">Press Release- Condemn arrest of Hem Mishra and witchunt by Maharashtra Police – DSU
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/crpp-statement-on-arrest-of-jnu-student-and-cultural-activist-hem-mishra/" target="_blank">CRPP Statement on arrest of JNU student and Cultural Activist Hem Mishra
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-condemn-arrest-of-hem-mishra-a-jnu-student-and-a-cultural-activist-by-maharashtra-police/" target="_blank"> #India- Condemn arrest of Hem Mishra, a JNU student and a cultural activist by Maharashtra Police

 

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Students, unemployed youths and marginalized section on Radar of Maharashtra Police #Hemishra #Sudhirdhawale

Shreya Roy Chowdhury & Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Aug 25, 2013,

NAGPUR/NEW DELHI: Gadchiroli police have arrested a former student of New Delhi‘sJawaharlal Nehru University, identified as Hem Mishra, at Morewada village in Etapalli taluka of Aheri tehsil in the Naxal hotbed of Gadchiroli district, on Thursday. Mishra was picked up along with two others, in the forests adjoining the village, for their alleged links with Naxalites.

Police said that the trio, from whom a microchip and crucial documents have been recovered, was working as Naxal couriers at the behest of a top cadre. The other two have been identified as Pandu Narote and Mahesh Teerki. The three have been remanded to police custody for 10 days. The Facebook profile of Mishra shows him as a “believer in Leninist-Marxist and Maoist views”.

The arrest of Mishra, who has completed his masters in mass communication from JNU, once again underlined the reach of the Naxals in urban areas. Police said that Mishra, a native of Almora inUttarakhand, had the microchip and a letter meant to be delivered to top woman cadre Narmada akka, is a divisional committee member. Police have also come across some sensitive mobile clips which they claim were messages from the Naxals to the cadres in city areas.

In his interrogation, Mishra told Gadchiroli police that he was not a student of JNU. “However, he claimed to be residing in a JNU hostel,” said Mohd Suvez Haque, the SP of Gadchiroli.

TOI learns that Mishra was a member of JNU’s Democratic Students’ Union (DSU). According to fellow DSU member, Bono, Mishra had a “problem in his hand” which required surgery. He was heading for Prakash Amte‘s hospital in Hemalkasa for it. “We were told that he was on the way to the hospital when he was picked up. We were not being able to contact him for the last three-four days and we were told by the local journalists what had happened. It’s a sensitive area. Otherwise, they can’t possibly have any real case against him. He’s just a student,” said Bono.

Morewada, where Mishra was picked up, is around 140 kms from Hemalkasa. “Mishra did not tell us about any medical problem nor did he mention Amte,” said Haque.

Haque said that the trio was spotted moving around mysteriously in Morewada. “When caught, Mishra had the microchip deceptively wrapped in a piece of paper which he had in his pocket. The materials recovered from Mishra are leading us to several crucial links and soon another major operation may follow,” said Haque.

Based on the information, the SP did not rule out the possibility of flushing out some top Naxal cadres from their hideouts soon. “The three has specifically revealed that they were working for Narmada. Narote and Teerki are also ready to repeat their statements in court,” added Haque. “We are also investigating into Mishra’s JNU connections as well as if Naxals had made any inroads into the university.”

Narote and Teerki have no previous records and reside in Morewada. “Narmada had asked them to bring Mishra to her,” said Haque.

DIG Ravindra Kadam (Naxal range) said the Naxal journal ‘Our Urban Perspective’ clearly revealed how they were planning to expand into towns and cities. “Students, unemployed youths and marginalized section of the society were in their radar,” he said.

A social networking site was flooded with messages supporting Mishra whom was being described as an “activist championing the cause of the poor and downtrodden”. The Revolutionary Democratic Front, a so-called rightist body, has condemned the arrest of Mishra.

In 2011, the state Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had nabbed Mumbai-based Sudhir Dhawale in Wardha where he had come to attend a symposium. Dhawale had been conducting his activities from his wife’s official nursing quarters at Byculla’s Central Railway hospital in Mumbai. In 2007, the ATS had nabbed two top cadres from Govandi in Mumbai _ Vernon Gonsalves and Shridhar Shrinivasan. Naxal think-tank Kobad Ghandy was nabbed from Delhi in 2009. While Gonsalves has been released, the other two are still in jail.

Earlier this year, Gadchiroli police had rounded up one Mahesh Raut and Harshala Potdar under suspicion for being Naxal sympathisers. While Raut was from Brahmapuri in Chandrapur district, Potdar hailed from Virar near Mumbai. The duo claimed to be students doing research in Gadchiroli under fellowship obtained through Prime Minister Gram Vikas Yojana.

About Hem Mishra:

Is a student of Centre for Chinese and South East Asian Studies in New Delhi

A second year student in BA Chinese but “deregistered” this year

Had collected a diploma in engineering before coming to JNU

Member of Democratic Students’ Union in JNU

Cultural activist and sings, performs in concerts regularly

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-hem-mishra-jnu-student-sent-to-10-days-police-custody-in-gadchiroli-wtfnews/" target="_blank"> #India – Hem Mishra- JNU student and 2 others sent to 10 days police custody in Gadchiroli #WTFnews
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/crpp-statement-on-arrest-of-jnu-student-and-cultural-activist-hem-mishra/" target="_blank">CRPP Statement on arrest of JNU student and Cultural Activist Hem Mishra
  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="http://www.kractivist.org/india-condemn-arrest-of-hem-mishra-a-jnu-student-and-a-cultural-activist-by-maharashtra-police/" target="_blank"> #India- Condemn arrest of Hem Mishra, a JNU student and a cultural activist by Maharashtra Police
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Maharashtra police still want him even after 45 acquittals #WTFnews

Nagpur, August 19, 2013

Staff Reporter, The Hindu

Police slapped 45 Naxal cases on him resulting in nine years of imprisonment, but different courts in Nagpur, Gadchiroli and Chandrapur districts acquitted him of all the charges.

Now, working as a vendor at a small tea shop in Nagpur, Police want Ganpath Kudmethe to “surrender” which will be tantamount to an acceptance on the part Mr. Kudmethe that he was related to the Naxal movement.

Ganpath Kudmethe, a resident of Karancha village in Gadchiroli district, was first arrested in 2004 and was slapped with over 30 cases related to Naxal violence and was charged under section 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and 3/25 of the Indian Arms Act.

Acquitted in all the cases and released from jail in December last year, Mr. Ganpath claimed that a team of Gadchiroli police approached him last week and asked him to surrender before Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police (SP).

“Jimalgatta Police Sub Inspector (PSI) Mr. Munjawar and C-60 (the special anti Naxal unit of Maharashtra police) commander Madhukar Mattami met me last week and asked me to surrender before Gadchiroli SP” Mr. Ganpath Kudmethe told The Hindu.

“They (the police) also threatened my nephew Santosh in Govindgaon village. They even threatened my family members to pressurize me to surrender. I have been living a simple life here and I am happy with it. I was not involved in any kind of Naxal activities which were established in courts then why should I surrender?” asked Mr. Kudmethe.

Mr. Ganpath is known as Vishvnath Kudmethe in police records.

Gadchiroli Police PRO Dharmendra Joshi refused to comment on the issue saying only the SP can comment in this matter.

Gadchiroli SP Mohammad Suvej Haque could not be reached for his reaction as his phone was switched off.

 

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