Gauri Media Trust Publisher Narasimhamurthy Arrested for ‘Treason’

Police have claimed that they had been trying to nab Narasimhamurthy since 1994 but had been unable to locate him.

New Delhi: Writer and journalist Doddipalya Narasimhamurthy was arrested from Raichur in coastal Karnataka on October 25, according to a report in the New Indian Express. He has been booked for ‘treason’ among other charges including criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder and extortion.

Narasimhamurthy had been in charge of bringing out publications such as Nyayapatha and is the secretary of the Gauri Media Trust, formed after the journalists’s death. He is also the general secretary in Karnataka of Yogendra Yadav’s political outfit Swaraj India.

The charges, according to the police, pertain to 1994. “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,” a senior police officer told the New Indian Express.

The police have claimed that they had been trying to nab Narasimhamurthy since 1994 but had been unable to locate him.

Also read: Gauri Lankesh: ‘Intolerant Voices Find Strength in our Silence’

Narasimhamurthy’s colleagues have argued that it would not have been too difficult for the police to locate him had they tried since he led a very public life.

“The cops say that he was absconding all these years. However, he has visited Raichur on multiple occasions, for press meets, social functions and other work related to Gauri Media Trust, why only arrest him now? It is highly suspicious. If they really wanted to catch him, it would be easy to publish his picture through cops and media and apprehend him, but why this arrest now?” Kumar Samatala, an associate of Narasimhamurthy at the Gauri Media Trust told the Quint.

Narasimhamurthy was in Raichur to talk at a seminar on ‘alternate media’ when he was arrested. He was produced in court and has been remanded to judicial custody till November 6.

Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav said that the party would file for bail. He also argues that it was Narasimhamurthy’s activism which had irked the administration. “He is an active and forceful voice against communalism. And we see a pattern of harassing people who speak out across the country. This fits with the pattern,” he said.

According to Yadav, the issue at hand does not call for a pre-investigation arrest.

“The allegations are there since 1994. If they had evidence against him they could have arrested him earlier. So, they should investigate first and then process. This sudden move only appears to be another attempt to silent dissenting voices,” Yadav said.