DELHI TRADE UNION LEADER GOPAL MISHRA IS AMONG THE LATEST TO BE BRANDED ‘MAOIST’, SAYS KUNAL MAJUMDER
ON MAY 4, at the second hearing of Gopal Mishra, the socalled chief of the CPI(Maoist) in Delhi, there was none of the buzz outside Delhi’s Tis Hazari courts that one generally associates with major criminal cases. Not more than 20 people — the court officials included — were present. Just one bored television correspondent from a sensation-seeking news channel who would not go back without her ‘story’. No craning of necks to get a glimpse of the notorious criminal, no cameras smashed by police in the name of security. Anybody could enter. Seated in the last row were Mishra’s brother, a senior academic in an open university, his sister-in-law and his teenage niece.
The ‘Maoist’ — a frail, slightly balding, middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair, dressed in a faded moss-coloured Tshirt and a track suit — was escorted inside the courtroom of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja by plain-clothed members of the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. Mishra and his wife Anu were arrested on April 25 by its South Delhi unit for being ‘active’ members of the CPI(Maoist) party, and have been charged under the dreaded Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2009 (UAPA), under which the detainee can be imprisoned for 180 days without the provision of bail. “I know I’m in for a long haul,” Mishra told TEHELKA as he waited for the magistrate to summon him inside her chamber for an incamera hearing.by