The Assam Police arrested anti-corruption campaigner and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi on charges of sedition on Wednesday. He was arrested from Golaghat city for his speech about an armed struggle in Assam’s Moran town on Tuesday. He has also been accused of spreading religious animosity, police said.
During his speech, Gogoi is believed to have said that if Hindu migrants from Bangladesh were forced upon Assam, people from the state would be forced to take up arms. In 2016, the Union government proposed to amend the Citizenship Act to grant citizenship to people without valid documents belonging to minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India.
Former United Liberation Front of Assam militant Jiten Dutta was also present during the event at Moran.
Gogoi has been a vocal critic of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government.
Accusations against the state government
During the past few weeks, Gogoi has addressed a number of public gatherings, where he accused the ruling BJP of spreading the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s agenda in the state. He rebuked the state’s decision to name colleges in the state after former Jan Sangh leader Deendayal Upadhyaya.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti President Bhascojyoti Saikia said a team of police officials accompanied by paramilitary forces apprehended Gogoi from the organisation’s Golaghat office on Wednesday evening. Gogoi had arrived there after a public meeting in Jorhat district. Gogoi, who was dressed in a lungi and a vest, was not allowed to get dressed by the team, claimed Saikia.
Sections 153, 153 A, 120 B, 121, 124 A and 109 of the Indian Penal Code have been applied, said Dibrugarh Superintendent of Police Gautam Borah, adding that that police acted on its own.
Gogoi has been leading an agitation against the government’s handling of the farming crisis in Assam. He has also been fighting against the building of dams, land mafia and corruption in public life, The Wire reported. In 2012, he collaborated with Anna Hazare who supported his organisation’s blockading of equipment meant for the construction of the Subansiri Lower Dam.
NAPM condemns arrest of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi on sedition charges
Demands immediate unconditional release
New Delhi | September 15, 2017: Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) for more than a decade has fought for the rights of the people and their sovereign control over land, water and forests. It has exposed corruption in PDS and other government welfare schemes and have remained committed to people’s rights. It is a mass organisation that is made up of farmers, workers and students spread across various districts of Assam and is part of various national organisations and networks including National Alliance of People’s Movements, All India Kisan Coordination Committee, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, Sangharsh and many others. Their democratic movement has received support from across the country.
The role of KMSS in raising issues of people’s right to their lands has been central, whether in opposing the Lower Subansiri Hydro Power Project and demanding the protection of people’s right to their livelihood, or in opposing the forcible eviction of cultivators from the Kaziranga National Park that took place under extremely violent and coercive conditions, has been central and critical in giving people the strength to oppose powerful forces that seek to deprive them of what is rightfully theirs. KMSS has had a particularly important role in exposing the resource grab currently taking place in Assam, with the full support and backing of the state government and its institutions, and in defending the rights of the indigenous and cultivating population of the region.
It is their growing popularity and acceptance across various classes and sections in Assam that this BJP government and earlier Congress government has always feared. Akhil Gogoi and KMSS activists have faced repression over years and this is not the first time they have been targeted for posing a sharp critique of the undemocratic policies of the state. Repeated arrests and muzzling of dissent has been a consistent strategy whether by the previous government, or the current government. KMSS has opposed the saffronisation move of the BJP government – in its attempt to name 21 government colleges after RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay, or in its attempt to amend the Citizenship Act that uses a communal basis to grant citizenship to refugees of one religion and not another. In opposing this polarising and communal politics of the ruling BJP government, KMSS has worked hard to bring together secular and progressive forces and that is the main reason why they are miffed and have arrested Akhil once again on fabricated charges.
NAPM stands in solidarity with Akhil Gogoi and KMSS in their struggle to secure people’s rights and protect their livelihood. We condemn this brazen attack on the people’s movements by the Assam government and demand immediate release of Akhil Gogoi and withdraw all false charges.
Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
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P.Chennaiah, Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Vruthidarula Union-APVVU and National Centre For Labour and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)
Ramakrishnam Raju, United Forum for RTI and NAPM (Andhra Pradesh)
Binayak Sen and Kavita Srivastava, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL)
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Geetha Ramakrishnan, Unorganised Sector Workers Federation, NAPM, (Tamilnadu)
Sandeep Pandey, Socialist Party and NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Sister Celia, Domestic Workers Union, and NAPM, Karnataka
Maj Gen (Retd) S. G. Vombatkere, Mysuru, NAPM, Karnataka
Arundhati Dhuru, Manesh Gupta, NAPM, Uttar Pradesh
Vilayodi Venugopal, CR Neelakandan and Prof. Kusumam NAPM, Kerala
Anand Mazgaonkar and Krishnakant, Paryavaran Suraksh Samiti, NAPM Gujarat
Vimal Bhai, Matu Jansangathan, NAPM, Uttarakhand
Dayamani Barla, Aadivasi-Moolnivasi Astivtva Raksha Samiti, NAPM Jharkhand
Dr. Sunilam and Adv. Aradhna Bhargava, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, and NAPM, Madhya Pradesh
Samar Bagchi and Amitava Mitra, NAPM West Bengal
Suniti SR, Suhas Kolhekar, and Prasad Bagwe, NAPM Maharashtra
Kailash Meena, NAPM Rajasthan
Gautam Bandopadhyay, NAPM, Chhattisgarh
Anjali Bharadwaj, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information and NAPM
Kaladas Dahariya, RELAA, Chhatisgarh
Meera Sanghamitra, NAPM Telangana-Andhra Pradesh
Bhupender Singh Rawat, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, NAPM, Delhi
Faisal Khan, Khudai Khidmatgar, NAPM Haryana
J S Walia, NAPM Haryana
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Guruwant Singh, NAPM Punjab
Richa Singh, Sangatin Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan, NAPM Uttar Pradesh
Arul Doss, NAPM (Tamilnadu)
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Sister Dorothy, NAPM Bihar
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Rajendra Ravi, Nanhu Prasad, Madhuresh Kumar, Sunita Rani, Amit Kumar, Himshi Singh, Uma, NAPM, Delhi
Aaquib Zabed Mazumder, Rajesh Serupally, NAPM, Telangana – Andhra Pradesh