The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected activist Akhil Gogoi’s petition against a Gauhati High Court order denying him bail in a case related to the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Assam in 2019, Live Law reported.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader was placed under preventive arrest on December 12, 2019, after he staged a sit-in protest outside the Jorhat deputy commissioner’s office. The National Investigation Agency said that Gogoi had been booked for “waging a war against the nation”, conspiracy and rioting. Three days after his arrest, the activist was charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
“We cannot consider bail in light of the allegations as of now,” a bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose told Gogoi’s lawyer Jaideep Gupta. “Maybe later, you can file an application.”
Gogoi’s lawyer told the court that large-scale protests had taken place against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and they were not related to terrorism at all. “There were some instances where there was violence at some places but there is no evidence that petitioner [Gogoi] was responsible,” he said. “It does not amount to an act of terrorism on a prima facie basis.”
The Gauhati High Court had rejected Gogoi bail petition on January 7. He had moved the High Court after an NIA court denied him bail in August.
On July 17, the High Court had granted Gogoi bail in three other cases. They were related to the burning of a circle office, a post office and a United Bank of India branch in Dibrugarh district during the protests in December. However, Gogoi faces sedition charges in two other cases under the UAPA.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. The act sparked huge protests across the country.