Other States

Campaign for release of anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi

Anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi.

Anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

A day after two of his jailed colleagues tested positive for COVID-19, supporters of Assam’s peasant leader and anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act activist Akhil Gogoi have launched an online campaign for his release from prison.

Mr. Gogoi has been in captivity since his arrest on December 12, 2019, for allegedly instigating violence during the anti-CAA protests that led to the death of at least six people. Three members of his group Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and its student wing were also arrested and charged with sedition.

Two other KMSS leaders, who have been in jail for more than 200 days — Dhaijya Konwar and Bitu Sonowal — tested positive on Wednesday.

‘Antigen test negative’

“They were shifted to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital after testing positive. The antigen tests done on Akhil Gogoi and Manas Konwar (associated with KMSS) came out negative,” said Inspector-General of Prisons Dasarath Das.

Mr. Gogoi’s legal counsel and members of KMSS had earlier said the peasant leader was believed to have tested positive since a few of some 1,200 prisoners in the Guwahati Central Jail had been infected.

“He stands the risk of being infected if he is kept in jail for long. He has otherwise been battling health complications requiring hospitalisation during his incarceration,” KMSS joint secretary Mukut Deka said, pointing to the co-morbidities in most of the 24 people who have died of COVID-19 in Assam so far.

Nine of the 24 have died in less than 48 hours since July 7. Of the two who died on Thursday, one was a resident of Guwahati, which accounted for 70% of the positive cases reported in the last five days.

Online appeal

The Akhil Gogoi Anuragi Mancha Asom (fan club) on Thursday launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign for his release. The group has appealed to people to write two sentences toward ensuring justice for the jailed activist.

Popular Assamese singer-lyricist Manash Robin has joined the social media campaign. “The government has taken advantage of the lockdown to disallow protests on the streets. Online campaign is the only option now for the release of Mr. Gogoi, who is neither anti-national nor anti-democracy as he is made out to be,” he said.

The students of Dibrugarh University have also decided to begin a campaign — both online and offline — from Friday.

Santanu Barthakur, Mr Gogoi’s lawyer, said a bail petition would be filed at the special court of the National Investigation Agency. The activist has been in the custody of the agency since his arrest; he has been rearrested after having been granted bail.

Related Topics
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:14:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/campaign-for-release-of-anti-caa-activist-akhil-gogoi/article32032256.ece

Next Story