On Thursday, the Gauhati High Court dismissed a bail plea by peasant rights activist Akhil Gogoi, who has been in jail since December 2019 for his role in the state’s anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in connection with a National Investigation Agency (NIA) case.
The decision by a court division bench has dashed the hopes of his supporters across Assam who hoped he would be released soon to participate in the upcoming state assembly polls.
In order to know the exact reasons for the denial of bail, we are waiting for a copy of the order. With an appeal requesting bail for Gogoi, we will soon approach the Supreme Court,’ said Santanu Borthakur, Gogoi’s counsel, after the court’s verdict.
The case concerns one of the 13 cases registered against Gogoi, founder of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), for his role in the violent protests against the citizenship law that took place in December 2019. Gogoi has secured bail in all the other cases, including another one filed by the NIA, except this.
The case was first lodged at the Chandmari Police Station in Guwahati and subsequently transferred to the NIA. Under the Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act, he was charged with sedition, criminal conspiracy, support for terrorist groups, among others.
On December 12, 2019, Gogoi was arrested in Jorhat for his role in the protests against the CAA, which aims to fast forward citizenship from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, and Jains. A day later, three of his associates were arrested.