Thursday, November 16, 2017

Activists, member of Parliament, refused to meet rights activist in Assam jail, allege suppression of right to dissent

By Our Representative
Following the refusal to a civil society delegation to meet Krishak Multi Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi in jail in Dibrugadh, Assam, several farmers' leaders, who have got together under Bhumi Adhikar Andolan (BAA), have decided to raise their voice against "the continued incarceration of Gogoi is a political ploy to completely silence any voice of dissent in Assam today”.
Talking with newspersons in Delhi, they said, they went to meet Gogoi -- who has been in jail since September 13 under various charges 120B, 121,124, 109, 153, 153A and under National Security Act since September 25 -- on November 12. Hannan Mollah, general secretary, All-India Kisan Sabha, said, Gogoi has been "targeted primarily because he has been raising the voice of the farmers and workers. His activities are all constitutional. He has done nothing unconstitutional. The trumped up charges against him are only an indication of the fascistic tendencies of the Assam government, completely in line with the Central government."
Well-known forest workers' union leader Dr Sunilam, who led the delegation along with Raju Shetty, member of Parliament, alleged that "the behaviour of the whole Assam government, including the district and state government, is completely undemocratic and doesn’t go well in a democratic society."
"The denial of permission on the ground that they need to conduct a background check on him and a sitting member of Parliament only reflects their ill intent. There was no plausible reason given by anyone on why they couldn’t meet Akhil Gogoi, even though permission was sought on October 8th itself through proper channels", he added.
"This is nothing but political persecution, since the issues undertaken by KMSS and matters of corruption raised by them have all been proved true. The water scam, the Public Distribution System (PDS) scam, and now the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) scam have been raised by the KMSS. However, the corrupt Assam government is doing nothing", he said.
Senior activist Roma, who had met Gogoi in jail on October 31, in Dibrugarh jail said that "KMSS has been working to implement the Forest Rights Act and ensure community rights of the tribals and other traditional forest dwelling communities. It has openly challenged the feudal forces and the growth of communal forces, and this has only threatened them."
"His incarceration under the National Security Act is like what has been done to Bhim Army chief Chandrashekar Ravan. This is a clear indication that those fighting for the rights of the marginalized will only face worst kind of oppression under BJP regime", she said.
Meanwhile, BAA announced that, in coordination with other farmer’s organisations of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, would launch a movement on the issue of "oppression against KMSS at the Kisan Mukti Sansad from November 20 onwards in Delhi."

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