Skip to main content

Acquitted in 12 of 13 cases, why is Assam civil rights leader denied bail?, asks NAPM

Counterview Desk

Taking strong exception to the “continued incarceration” of Assam’s top civil rights leader Akhil Gogoi for more than 400 days and denial of bail by the Guwahati High Court, India’s civil society network National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has said, it is “disquieting” that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a Central agency which is supposed to investigate terror cases, is being used to “bulldoze” democratic and mass peaceful movements and their leadership.
An NAPM statement regrets, the High Court has refused to grant bail to Gogoi despite the fact that he has “already been acquitted in 12 of the 13 FIRs filed against him in an act of vengeance by the Government”, adding, though it clear the cases against Akhil Gogoi are “politically motivated”, the judiciary has “fallen short” of addressing “profound injustice” meted out to Gogoi.

Text:

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) is deeply anguished at the continued incarceration of Akhil Gogoi, well-known peasant leader of Assam. The past two weeks have been particularly poignant, as one the one hand, it marked over 400 days of Akhil Gogoi in jail, while on the other, his bail application, which came up for hearing after protracted delay was declined by the Honb’le Guwahati High Court.
In its Order dated January 7, 2020, Justice Kalyan Rai Surana and Justice Ajit Borthakur, while rejecting the bail plea of Akhil Gogoi, founder of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), upheld the arbitrary verdict of a special NIA court dated July 13, 2020 and ruled that the anti-CAA protests in Assam held in December 2019 were 'not in line' with non-violent 'Satyagraha' but 'squarely falls within the definition of ‘terrorist act’ as defined in Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)!
The Court also held that Akhil Gogoi ‘disrupted the noble meaning of Satyagraha’ by trying to paralyze the govt machinery, especially on the same day Japan’s Prime Minister was supposed to visit Assam, causing economic blockade, enmity between different groups, disruption of public peace and widespread disharmony and dissatisfaction towards the Government, all of which are acts prejudicial for national integration and such acts falls within the definition of ‘terrorist acts’ as defined in section 15 of UAPA. 
The only ‘saving grace’ seems to be where the Order states that “no prima facie view or opinion expressed in the course of this judgement shall have any bearing on the trial of the case”.
It is clear that the cases against Akhil Gogoi are politically motivated, therefore, highly unfortunate that the judiciary has fallen short of addressing this profound injustice. Akhil Gogoi has already been acquitted in 12 of the 13 FIRs filed against him in an act of vengeance by the Government.
And in the UAPA case, the Hon’ble High Court appears to have primarily taken on board the arguments of the prosecution (NIA) in its ‘reasoning’, while disregarding all facts on record which point otherwise. Instead of the selectively quoted speech parts of the appellant (Akhil Gogoi), his whole speeches and actions prove that he was arguing for expanding peaceful mass democratic protest.
Disproportionate powers vested in the NIA for supposedly investigating 'terror cases' is being deployed to quell democratic struggles
It is well known that all communities and organizations of Assam protested strongly and democratically against the communal and grossly unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. This was a mass movement where Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) along with numerous groups, including All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU), North East Students' Union (NESO) and many others also participated in, which is within the inalienable rights of all citizens.
It is disquieting that the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a central security agency vested with sweeping powers, is being used by the current regime to bulldoze and actually ‘terrorize’ mass peaceful movements and their leadership. 
The disproportionate powers vested in the NIA for supposedly investigating 'terror cases' is being deployed to quell democratic struggles since last year continuing today with farmers protest, raising serious and fundamental questions of federalism, constitutional rights and people’s locus to be centre-stage in determining law and policy that has implications for millions.
NAPM is of the considered view that the inflated and misplaced allegations against Akhil Gogoi are clearly an attempt by the State to sabotage the genuine voices from the grassroots mass movements.
We are well aware of the ‘political threat’ Akhil Gogoi poses to the ruling establishment within Assam and at the Centre and that is precisely why the authorities are building up a ‘case’ against him to keep him incarcerated for a prolonged period. On the contrary, the consistent and ongoing mass solidarity and sentiment for the release of Akhil Gogoi across streets and farms and even within the jail by the inmates, demonstrates the real strength of the people.
NAPM unequivocally condemns the BJP Govt’s political move to keep Akhil Gogoi in incarceration over 400 + days and warn that mass movements can’t be muzzled by draconian laws and incarcerations based on fabricated cases.
  • We stand in solidarity with Akhil Gogoi as well as all political prisoners who have been incarcerated in the anti-CAA, NRC, NPR protests across the country.
  • We shall continue to raise voice, for the release of Akhil Gogoi and all other prisoners as well as for the repeal of the draconian UAPA law. 
  • We look forward to the Apex Court addressing the unfairness in the Order of the Guwahati High Court, while denying bail to Akhil Gogoi and a fair trial in the matter.
---
Click here for signatories

Comments

TRENDING

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Modi govt's assault on dissent': Foreign funds of top finance NGO blocked

By Rajiv Shah  In a surprise move, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has cancelled the foreign funding license of the well-known advocacy group, Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), known for critically examining India's finance and banking sectors from human rights and environmental angle.

How US is using Tibetans to provoke conflict with China 'ignoring' India

By Lobsang Tenzin*  On July 12, US President Joe Biden signed the Resolve Tibet Act, and Tibetans cheered for it, believing that the law promotes a resolution of the dispute between Tibet and China. Is this true? First, let's look at the issue of the ownership of Tibet. 

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Maharashtra govt's proposed bill may be used against 'dissenting' journalists, writers, filmmakers, artists

Counterview Desk  The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, strongly objecting to what it calls “repressive and unconstitutional” Maharashtra Special Public Security Bill 2024, has demanded the proposed law be scrapped in its entirety. In its Statement of Objects and Reasons for the Bill, PUCL noted,  the broad and non-descript label of ‘urban naxal’ has been used, which is actually a “common slur used for any citizen who expresses their opposition to state policy or is not aligned with right-wing majoritarian views."