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

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

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.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Top ex-Gujarat babu tells Modi: Not yoga but solar system is our biggest source of energy

By Rajiv Shah  An email alert to Counterview from a top ex-IAS bureaucrat, termed as Gujarat’s turnaround man for revamping loss-making state public sector undertakings (PSUs), has sought to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the Yoga day – that the ancient Indian exercise provides an “infinite solutions” within ourselves, offering “the biggest source of energy in the universe.”

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.