Akhil Gogoi allegedly manhandled by cops before being sworn in as MLA

The jailed peasants’ rights activist had been granted special permission by the NIA court to attend his swearing in ceremony in Guwahati

Image Courtesy:ndtv.com

Human Rights Defender Akhil Gogoi was sworn in as a Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly today amidst high drama. The peasants’ rights and RTI activist who fought and won the election from Sibsagar constituency while still lodged in jail, as he is charged under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), was allegedly manhandled and harassed by security personnel when he arrived at the venue of the swearing in ceremony.

A video of the incident has gone viral on social media. Gogoi later told media persons that he was pushed, shoved and “treated like an animal”. Gogoi was granted special permission by an NIA Court to attend his swearing in ceremony, but he says not only was he treated badly, the policemen transporting him from the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMHC) also flouted Covid-19 norms.

The Wire quoted Gogoi as saying, “From GMCH I was treated and brought here like an animal. The authorities provided me with a broken and dilapidated bus. Inside the bus, there were around 20 police personnel, and the bus was almost full. A constable sat next to me. When I objected to a magistrate that no COVID-19 protocol was being followed I was told that I am an undertrial and my antics will not be tolerated.” Elaborating on further humiliation, Gogoi told the publication, “When I got down from the bus I was pulled by my pants. I was elected by the people of Sivasagar and authorities here dragged me by my belt.”

SabrangIndia had reported previously on how Gogoi who had become a political prisoner ever since he started vociferously campaigning against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), had won from Sibsagar defeating Surabhi Rajkonwari of the BJP by a margin of 11,875 votes.

Brief background of cases against Gogoi

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader was arrested in December 2019 in Jorhat and at least a dozen cases were filed against him in different police stations. It is noteworthy that the High Court had granted him bail in three cases: 293/2019, 296/2019 and 307/2019, all of which had been filed by the Chabua police station. He was charged under sections 144, 143, 148, 153, 153 (A), 153 (B), along with Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property, Act (PDPPA). He has been accused of having Maoist links.

A vindictive regime has been harassing the human rights defender for his involvement in the citizenship issue. Every time Gogoi manages to secure bail in one case, he is implicated in a fresh one registered in a new police station! 

In another case filed against him at the Chandmari police station that was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Gogoi has been charged under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), sedition and criminal conspiracy, among other charges. He has been denied bail repeatedly in this case.

So far absurd and trumped up charges filed against Gogoi include unlawful assembly, rioting, wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot, promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, religion, and language; imputations and assertions which are an impediment to national integration, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his/her duty, mischief of causing damage to public property, and causing damage to public property by fire or explosive substance! Under UAPA, Gogoi has been charged with terrorist acts with the intent to threaten the unity, security, and sovereignty of India.


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