Assam activist Akhil Gogoi, who was lodged at the central jail in Guwahati, has tested positive for the coronavirus. Assam Inspector General of Prisons Dasarath Das told Scroll.in that the activist had tested negative earlier in an antigen as well as the confirmatory RT-PCR test but tested positive on Saturday in an antigen test.
He will be treated at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital, News18 reported.
Former chief of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (R), Ranjan Daimary, who is also housed in the Guwahati central jail, had tested positive on Friday. Das said that among the 15 inmates tested on Saturday, three were positive. Nearly 20 prisoners have reportedly tested positive for Covid-19 at the prison.
Reports about Gogoi falling ill had initially emerged in local media in the first week of July. He showed symptoms of Covid-19, it was said. His wife, Geetashree Tamuly, wrote in a Facebook post that she had learnt about his illness from news reports but knew no details about his condition. Soon afterwards, it was reported that Bitu Sonowal and Dhajya Konwar, two other KMSS activists who are also in jail, were showing symptoms. They had a fever, cough and body ache.
Advocates for Gogoi and his aides had filed a petition in a National Investigation Agency court, pleading that they be tested for Covid-19. The court ordered the jail authorities to ensure that they were tested and on July 9, it was reported that Sonowal and Konwar had Covid-19.
Gogoi, the founder of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, 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.