A special National Investigation Agency court on Friday again remanded Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi to 14-day judicial custody, PTI reported. He was arrested by the agency in December for his alleged role in the protests in Assam against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
This is the second time Gogoi’s remand has been extended. He was initially sent to 14-day judicial custody. On January 10, his remand was extended for two weeks. The court has now asked officials to produce him again on February 10, his advocate Santanu Borthakur told the news agency.
Before being produced in the court on Friday amid tight security, Gogoi urged people to intensify the agitation against the amended citizenship law that makes undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan eligible for Indian citizenship. At least five people have died in Assam so far during clashes with the police. He shouted “Jai Aai Asom [Hail Mother Assam].” “The time for symbolic protests is over,” he told journalists. “The agitation should be intensified. People should fight a united battle against the CAA or else there are possibilities of betrayal by people with vested interests.”
Meanwhile, the NIA has moved the Gauhati High Court to seek Gogoi’s custody again. The matter will be heard on February 3.
Gogoi was placed under preventive arrest on December 12 for protesting against the amendments to the Citizenship Act. He had staged a sit-in protest outside the Jorhat deputy commissioner’s office, following which he was arrested. The NIA said that Gogoi has been booked for “waging a war against the nation”, conspiracy and rioting.
Three days later, the NIA booked the anti-corruption and Right to Information activist under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act empowers the central government to designate an individual as a “terrorist” if he or she is found to be committing, preparing for, promoting, or being involved in an act of terrorism. The Centre can also designate an individual as a terrorist through a notification in the official gazette. Gogoi could be the first person to be tried under the amended Act.
Open letter from Gogoi
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti made an open letter written by Gogoi in jail public. “We respect the cultural protests, public rallies and black-flag protests,” he wrote, according to The Telegraph. “But these will not compel the government to scrap the act. These tactics had worked when the law was a bill but since it has become an Act, the temper of the protests needs to be maximum.”
Though he said that “a political force should add muscle to the movement”, he added that the demand of a new party should come from the public. In his five-page letter, Gogoi urged the protestors to continue the movement. “The people of Assam know how we are framed in fake cases and how the government is trying to gag our voice,” he wrote. “Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the groups who are fighting outside to unite and take this movement to a logical solution. The movement should not only aim to compel the government to withdraw the Act but also protect the future of the people of Assam for good.”