‘Denial of bail to Hem Mishra is travesty of justice’
Scores of students, on Monday, from different student organisations of Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) marched to the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi demanding immediate release of Hem Mishra, after he was once again denied bail by a Maharashtra court on February 5.
Hem is a former student of the university, a cultural activist and former leader of Democratic Students’ Union (DSU) who was arrested last year on charges of being a ‘Naxal Courier’. Mishra was arrested from Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in August 2013.
The ex-JNU student has been, ever since, denying all the charges levelled against him, clarifying time and again that he visited Gadchiroli for medical reasons. He had also written a letter to his friends and family from Nagpur jail last year mentioning that he was being tortured on daily basis in Anda cell of the Nagpur jail where he has been kept in confinement. Hem has been booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act ( UAPA).
Students who gathered at the Maharashtra Sadan claimed that the recent judgement by the sessions court on the bail hearing of the JNU alumni and its subsequent denial is a travesty of justice, where a prisoner is continuously being denied his right to be bailed.
Umar Khalid, Leader of the Democratic Students Union, pointed out, “The only reason why Hem was arrested is because he was raising the concern of the weak and oppressed through cultural activities. He questioned the economic policies of the government and challenged these policies by creating awareness among the marginalised people and organising them.”
Umar further alleged that the pattern of Hem’s arrest is in line with a number of arrests of various activists in the country who have questioned the repressive policies of the government through different mediums.
Another student activist speaking at the gathering spoke on similar lines alleging that Hem’s arrest was an attempt to suppress the voice of activists by the government who raise issues that are sensitive.
Later, a memorandum was submitted to the Delhi Chief Minister, in which the students alleged that Hem was continuously denied prisoners” rights in the Nagpur Central Jail, and also how it took 13 months for the police to file a chargesheet against the former JNU student. The memorandum also mentioned that before being officially arrested, Hem was kept in illegal detention for two days.
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