The National Investigation Agency on Thursday summoned journalist Manash Jyoti Baruah for questioning in connection with Assam activist Akhil Gogoi’s alleged role in the the violence that broke out in the state last year during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported. The questioning is scheduled to take place on Friday noon.
Baruah, a journalist with a Guwahati-based news website, has worked with several Assamese news channels in the past. He has been covering Gogoi and the activities of his organisation – Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti – for years.
He said he received the NIA notice over a phone call. An additional superintendent of police, identifying himself as DR Singh, called and asked him go to their office in Sonapur for some information regarding an NIA case against Gogoi in Guwahati, according to The Hindu. Sonapur is about 30 km east of Guwahati.
When Baruah enquired why he had not received any notice, Singh said the paperwork might take some time. “I do not know why the NIA has called me,” the journalist said. “I have spoken to some lawyers, who have advised me to go for tomorrow’s [Friday] questioning. I will reach there on time.”
This came after the investigative agency recently summoned Right To Information activist Bhaben Handique to Sonapur on May 9 in relation to the “terrorism” charges against Gogoi. Handique, the convenor of civil society group Swaraj Asom, said he was interrogated for three hours. “I was asked about my association with Gogoi since my college days,” he told The Hindu. “I was also asked why I left the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti a few years ago and about Gogoi’s Maoist links.”
Since then Handique has been questioned repeatedly by one agency or the other for his alleged involved in the anti-CAA protests in Assam, he said.
Gogoi was arrested in December for leading a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act outside the Jorhat deputy commissioner’s office. 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 – that empowers the 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.
He was granted bail on March 17 by a special NIA court after the investigating agency failed to file a chargesheet against him within the specified period of 90 days. However, he was arrested again, just two days later. Three other KMSS leaders – Dhairjya Konwar, Bittu Sonowal and Manash Konwar – were also arrested and are in jail at present.