BENGALURU: The Raichur police arrested General-Secretary of Swaraj India (SI), Karnataka, and secretary, Gauri Media Trust, Doddipalya Narasimhamurthy, on charges of treason and criminal activities on October 25.
“Narasimhamurthy is a Naxalite and a member of the proscribed outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist). He has been absconding since 1994. There is a police dossier on him in Raichur district. He was arrested in Raichur,” said a senior police officer.
On October 24, Narasimhamurthy was invited as one of the main speakers at a seminar on ‘Alternate Media’ in Raichur where the police detained him. The next day, they issued a statement that he has been arrested. He was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody till November 6. SI slammed the police for “foisting trumped-up charges, which claim that Narasimhamurthy was absconding for the last
SI national president, Yogendra Yadav, told The New Indian Express that he was shocked to hear about his colleague’s arrest.
“I’ve known Narasimhamurthy for seven years as a public intellectual, journalist and one of most respected voices of civil society in Karnataka. As a colleague in Swaraj Abhiyan and Swaraj India, he is one person who stands for older ideologies; of the farmers, Dalits, Ambedkar and socialist Left movements,” said Yadav.
He questioned the police action against Narasimhamurthy, saying he has shared the stage with him on more than a dozen occasions in Karnataka between 2015 and till recently. Narasimhamurthy is considered a “well respected writer, who has for decades been openly and actively involved in public life and has been running ‘Nyayapatha’ and the Gauri Lankesh publications, which is brought out by the Gauri Media Trust,” said an SI spokesperson.
“If they had enough evidence against him, they could have arrested him earlier. His arrest has forced me to think that it is in line with attempts to silence social and political activists,” said Yadav.
A police officer said, “There are several cases against Narasimhamurthy in Raichur. In 1994,
a case was registered against him in Yapaldinni in Raichur rural district under The Arms Act and Sections 120 (B), 307, 385 and 386 of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and extortion. In 2001, a case was registered against him in Netaji Nagar police station for attempt to murder and wrongful confinement of a person. In 2016, a case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was registered against Narasimhamurthy in Jaiprakash Nagar in Bengaluru.”
The SI has demanded an “expeditious and fair investigation into the charges on Narasimhamurthy, following due process, and also that the pre-trial detention of Narasimhamurthy be stopped immediately as per the laws of the land,” the spokesperson added.