Akhil Gogoi wins big despite being behind bars!
The political prisoner’s campaign was run by his well-wishers and octogenarian mother
Akhil Gogoi, the peasants’ rights activist who has become a political prisoner ever since he took a vocal stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), is one of the most significant winners in the Assam Assembly elections. Gogoi contested from Sibsagar and was pitted against Surabhi Rajkonwari of the BJP. But he won by a margin of 11,875 votes.
Gogoi was incarcerated following multiple FIRs filed against him in different police stations. He faces charges under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and fought elections from behind bars. But it was his well-wishers and especially his octogenarian mother Priyada who led his campaign and inspired people to vote for him.
Though previously, she had to be hospitalised repeatedly due to her failing health in wake of her only son’s arrest, Priyada gathered new energy for the election campaign. She visited village after village daily and appealing people saying, “My son has done nothing wrong in his life. His only crime is that he loves Assam, he loves people of Assam, he can’t tolerate injustice. So, he has been languishing in jail. If you support him, he will do the best for our country. He is not only my son, he is serving as a worthy son to all of you. So, please stand by him, vote for him and stand for his release from the jail.”
Brief background of cases against Gogoi
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader was arrested in December 2019 in Jorhat and at least a dozen cases were filed against him in different police stations. It is noteworthy that the High Court had granted him bail in three cases: 293/2019, 296/2019 and 307/2019, all of which had been filed by the Chabua police station. He was charged under sections 144, 143, 148, 153, 153 (A), 153 (B), along with Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property, Act (PDPPA). He has been accused of having Maoist links.
A vindictive regime has been harassing the human rights defender for his involvement in the citizenship issue. Every time Gogoi manages to secure bail in one case, he is implicated in a fresh one registered in a new police station!
In another case filed against him at the Chandmari police station that was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Gogoi has been charged under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), sedition and criminal conspiracy, among other charges. He has been denied bail repeatedly in this case.
So far absurd and trumped up charges filed against Gogoi include unlawful assembly, rioting, wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot, promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion, race, religion, and language; imputations and assertions which are an impediment to national integration, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging his/her duty, mischief of causing damage to public property, and causing damage to public property by fire or explosive substance! Under UAPA, Gogoi has been charged with terrorist acts with the intent to threaten the unity, security, and sovereignty of India.
Courtesy : Sabrang