What Happened To Parmanand Mishra?

October 09, 2007
Sakshi Juneja

The continuing inconsistencies and drawbacks in our judicial system are regularly highlighted with cases such as Jessica Lall’s Murder Trail, Priyadarshini Mattoo Rape & Murder Trail and the on-going mother’s struggle to procure justice for her dead son, Nitish Katara. The reason we know about these unlawful acts is solely because of the keen participation of the main stream media. Agreed, many of the media channels just use these cases for their personal TRP benefits but I guess as long as they serve the society at large in the process, then there is no harm done.

What about those struggles which do not catch the media's attention - Where do they go to make their voices heard? Will their years of labor actually pay off? Will they ever get justice?

Nope. No way. Yes, you can call me pessimistic but come on who are we kidding here. When a mass-murder trial took more than 11 years to reach a judgment (and still guilty ones are walking about freely) - are there really any possibilities for individuals who are fighting without the backing of acclaimed lawyers, political assistance and endless cash flow!

So does this mean we continue to let the rich and the powerful walk all over us? Certainly not. And as they say "No good deed goes unanswered", we should lend a helping hand and be the voice for those who are not being heard, for who knows tomorrow we could be the ones in need of desperate help.

And so here I am doing a deed, hoping that you will do more than just read.

This is Anthia Mishra’s fight for justice.

Anthia, an Australian married to Parmanand Mishra, a resident of Sydney, Australia who was found dead in a Paharganj guest house in February 2005.

Parmanand Mishra's purpose to visit India on the 24th of February 2005 was to visit his father and spend some time in his village teaching yoga – something he enjoyed doing. Since an entire family trip turns out to be quite and expensive affair, especially for a 3 month time span, Anthia and their three children stayed back in Australia.

Upon arrival in Delhi on the 25th, he booked himself into the Hare Rama guesthouse just for the night in Paharganj-Delhi. The very next day he put a deposit on an Enfield bullet motorcycle at the bike centre, after which he booked into Amar Guest House opposite the Krishna market in Paharganj. The bike was bought on the 27th by Parmanand as he wanted to leave for his village the very next day.

He also bought six new pairs of socks, had a shave and haircut and sent an email at approximately 4.30 pm Indian time to Anthia in Australia saying that he had arrived safely in India and he was leaving for the village tomorrow (on 28th) and he was fine and he would contact them from Pratapgarh when he would arrive at the village.

The whole of 28th February, Parmanand went mysteriously missing. Missing according to Anthia and according to receipts of hotel and purchase of motorbike. According to Anthia if Parmanand had sent an email on the 27 FEB 2005 saying that he was leaving for the village the next day – then he would stick to his plan without any kind of alteration.

On the 1st of March the Hotel and Paharganj police allege Parmanand was not answering to an 'early morning wakeup call' by a staff member at 8 am. Allegedly police were on the spot and looked through the wire mesh on the outside of hotel room door and after repeatedly calling him they decided to break the wire mesh and open the door. When they opened the door they found him lying still on the bed. At this point, there was no proof of death.

Police took photos and rang the Australian embassy at 12 pm midday and rang Parmanand's relatives who live in Lucknow to inform them of his death. Police took him by ambulance to Lady Harding hospital at 4.30 pm in the afternoon unconscious as stated in the post mortem report. Parmanand's brother arrived in Delhi at about 10 pm at night and went straight to Paharganj police station. They were not allowed to see the body and told to come to Paharganj police station at 10 am the next day (2nd March).

Only on March 2nd 2005, that is almost two days after the demise was Anthia intimated of her husbands death. There was no cause of death and no explanation!

Her brothers-in-law were told by police to come to station in the morning to take the body for cremation after post mortem was over. Police pressured them to take the body and cremate. Parmanand was taken to his village near Pratapgarh in UP and then taken to the Sangam in Allahabad for the cremation. Anthia knew nothing about this and was still in Australia waiting for the cause of death.

On the 10th of March Anthia arrived in Delhi with her three children and met with police. Her interaction with the Delhi police proved to be futile – they were not able to answer basic enquiries, too much of time lapse in their submitted report and no reasonable explanation given to back it up. After a week, she along with her children left back for Australia unable to do anything. According to her there was no use in getting legal advice as she didn't even have the rest of the toxicology results and didn't know of anyone reputable at the time. Her grief was immense, and her children were suffering very badly.

In September 2005 all the results were complete. The police investigation led to claiming his death was from acute pulmonary and cerebral edema. This is not a cause of death – it is the effects of death as claimed by forensic doctors in Australia who have offered their opinion. The question that needed to be answered instead was what happened to Parmanand that led to the acute cerebral and pulmonary edema?

According to Anthia, Delhi Police's investigation had been very substandard. There was no crime scene investigation and all the evidence from the hotel room was cleaned off. The day after he died the autopsy was performed by a student at Lady Harding hospital who was unable to find the cause of death and handed over the body for cremation the same day because he said that the body was going off.

She believes if the case was handled professionally then the police would have established what the motive was when it happened and treated the hotel room as a crime scene, taken evidence for testing, proper witness statements, got a second post mortem performed by a senior qualified doctor to find the cause of death and kept the body refrigerated.

The viscera and blood samples should have undergone thorough proper regulation testing. The body would not have been cremated until all tests were complete and the cause of death was known. Worst of all, Delhi Police did not even register an FIR about the matter and held the inquiry without any notification to Anthia, denying her of her rights as the next of kin.

Anthia and her husband's family, all support her views that the investigating officers are probably concealing a homicide. They believe Parmanand was in fact murdered.

She has since then sought legal representation, also met with the doctor who performed the post mortem and found out more inconsistencies. Finally in 2007 her solicitor applied to the local court for an FIR and then in the district court for the police report, which is currently in progress.

Press coverage on Parmanand's murder can be found here and Anthia's interview over here. If you have any advice or even thoughts of support that you would like to offer, you can reach Anthia via email (anthia123 [at] hotmail [dot] com) and/or phone (61-0404233271).

[*Kindly note, the above write-up is based on the information provided by Ms. Anthia Mishra] 

Saakshi O. Juneja is an active blogger, feminist and overboard dog lover. Currently working as a Business Development Manager for a sportswear manufacturing company in Mumbai, India. Did graduation in Marketing & Advertising from Sydney, Australia. As far as blogging is concerned...is a complete Blog-a-holic.
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Anthia Mishra
October 9, 2007
06:10 AM

I would just like to thank anyone who has shown the patience to read Parmanand's story. Everything is 100% true. Please give your support and follow his case. I would just like to add that my husband was stepped on by police with shoes on where his body lay on the bed in the hotel room. Shoe prints are clearly visible on the sheets of the bed.
Thankyou to all our Indian friends and family in India and abroad for their support.
And of course thanks to Saakshi for her respect and trust and making it possible for us to have a voice from Australia.

October 9, 2007
09:55 AM

Justice may be slow and difficult, but don't lose hope

Deepti Lamba
October 9, 2007
10:45 AM

Anthia, I am very sorry for your loss more so for the little angels who are deprived of their father. Pressure from the court may get the ball rolling but seeing how overburdened our judicial system is I think this will drag on for years.

Wasn't Parmanand an Australian citizen being your husband? Shouldn't some pressure be forth coming from the Australian embassy as well?

So many questions but I admire your courage and strength and hope the children find solace in your embrace.

October 9, 2007
10:53 AM

Anthia... I am so so sorry to read this story. But sorry and surprised are sadly two very different things. India is a black hole when it comes to information if someone in power wants it buried. I am sure you are learning this first hand, so I am telling you nothing new.

I will pray that for the sake of your family and your husband's memory that you do get justice, and sooner rather than later.

Anthia Mishra
October 9, 2007
08:18 PM

Answer to Deepti Lamba question about Parmanand being an Australian citizen and Australian embassy should apply pressure..............
The Australian embassy in Delhi wrote to me and told me in March 2005 when it happened,that they do not have any jurisdiction in the matter and I would have to employ a lawyer on my own.Thanks for your comment - more details coming soon - keep looking here.

March 12, 2009
02:28 PM

Sehr gute Seite. Ich habe es zu den Favoriten.

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