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  India   All India  23 Dec 2019  Aasu demands release of RTI activist Akhil Gogoi

Aasu demands release of RTI activist Akhil Gogoi

THE ASIAN AGE. | MANOJ ANAND
Published : Dec 23, 2019, 5:06 am IST
Updated : Dec 23, 2019, 5:06 am IST

The veteran student leader called upon the state govt to drop the charges slapped on Mr Gogoi and others and release them without further delay.

Women sit on a protest during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC in Namrup, Assam, on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)
 Women sit on a protest during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC in Namrup, Assam, on Sunday. (Photo: PTI)

Guwahati: A day after the Assam Cabinet adopted several resolutions to protect the language, identity and land of the indigenous people of the state to allay their fears that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act will put their existence at stake, Aasu chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya who is spearheading the anti-CAA movement said that decision of the government was aimed at appeasing people and defusing the agitation to protect Hindu Bangladeshis.

Telling the state government to release the leaders, including RTI activist Akhil Gogoi, arrested in connection with anti-CAA agitation, Mr Bhattacharya said, “The Cabinet decision had nothing new in it. These are our longstanding demands and we deserve these. The government has announced this now just to appease the protesting groups to defend Hindu Bangladeshi.”

 

The state Cabinet on Saturday resolved to recommend to the Centre to amend Article 345 of the Constitution and declare Assamese the state language, except in the three districts of Bengali-majority Barak Valley and the 6th Schedule tribal areas of the Bodo-majority Bodoland Autonomous Council area and the two hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong.

The Cabinet adopted several other resolutions specifically for the protection of the six indigenous communities of the state - the Tai-Ahom, Koch-Rajbongshi, Chutiya, Moran, Motok and tea tribes (Chhota Nagpur origin) - who are still waiting for BJP to fulfil its election promise to grant them scheduled tribe status. It has also been decided by the cabinet that three new autonomous councils for Koch Rajbongshi, Moran and Motok communities will be set up.

 

The Cabinet also decided that the government will bring in two bills — one for protecting the land rights of the state’s indigenous people by prohibiting them from transferring land rights to non-indigenous people and another for making the teaching of Assamese language compulsory in all schools up to Class X — in the February session of the state assembly. However, schools in the state’s two hill districts, Bodo-majority areas and the Barak Valley will be kept out of the ambit of the mandatory Assamese teaching.

Mr Bhattacharya on Sunday slammed the ruling BJP government for arresting pro-talk Ulfa leader Jiten Dutta and many others who were the part of the anti-CAA movement. The veteran student leader called upon the state government to drop the charges slapped on Mr Gogoi and others and release them without further delay.

 

Asserting that their agitation is for these issues only, Mr Bhattacharya demanded the release of noted RTI activist and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi who has been arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after the violence during the anti-citizenship act movement that continues to rock Assam.

Also, an ‘Assam Heritage Preservation Bill’ will also be introduced in the next session of the assembly to protect satras (Vaishavaite monasteries) from encroachments.

Mr Bhattacharya on Sunday slammed the ruling BJP government for arresting pro-talk Ulfa leader Jiten Dutta and many others who were the part of the anti-CAA movement.

 

The veteran student leader called upon the state government to drop the charges slapped on Mr Gogoi and others and release them without further delay.

It is significant that special court of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Guwahati, on Tuesday had sent Assam peasant leader Akhil Gogoi to a 10-day NIA custody.

Mr Gogoi — the adviser of Assam’s farmers’ organisation Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) — was arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) amid protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Mr Gogoi was arrested by the Assam Police on December 12 from Jorhat and he was handed over to the National Investigation Agency in connection with a case which was handed over to NIA for investigation. The NIA registered a case under Section 120(B), 124(A), 153(A), 153(B) of the IPC and Section 18, 39 of UAPA.

 

The court has directed the NIA to ensure regular medical checkup of Mr Gogoi and allow his family members and lawyers to meet him. Lawyer Shantanu Borthakur said that the NIA has sought 20-day custody but the court granted the 10-day custody.

“The court also directed the NIA that, Akhil Gogoi will be subjected to medical checkups every 24 hours and allow the family members and lawyers to meet him. There will be no physical and mental torture against him,” the lawyer said.

The Assam Police had arrested pro-talk Ulfa leader Jiten Dutta in connection with an incident of arson and vandalism in the RSS office at Margherita in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district on December 12.

 

Tags: citizenship (amendment) act, aasu
Location: India, Assam, Guwahati (Gauhati)