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Akhil Gogoi released from detention in connection with anti-CAA protests

The peasant activist, who was admitted in the Guwahati Medical College Hospital since last year for various ailments, walked out of the premises a free man, hours after a National Investigation Agency court here discharged him in the second case lodged against him by the agency
MLA from Sibsagar and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi being produced before a special NIA court in Guwahati on Thursday on July 1. (PTI)
Updated on Jul 01, 2021 03:19 PM IST

President of Raijor Dal and MLA from Sibsagar in Assam, Akhil Gogoi, got released on Thursday after spending one and a half years in detention for his alleged role in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests.

The peasant activist, who was admitted in the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) since last year for various ailments, walked out of the premises a free man, hours after a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here discharged him in the second case lodged against him by the agency.

He had been discharged in the other case filed against him by NIA last week.

“I will first go to visit the parents of Sam Stafford, the first martyr of the anti-CAA protests in Assam. From there, I will go to the office of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and then to Raijor Dal office. Early tomorrow morning, I will leave for my constituency,” Gogoi told journalists minutes after his release.

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“It was unimaginable that the court would deliver such a free and fair verdict under such pressure from the government. It shows that the judiciary is still independent and the public can have faith in it,” he added.

Gogoi was under arrest since December 2019 for his alleged role in the anti-CAA protests that rocked Assam and claimed five lives in police firing.

“The NIA court discharged him in the case lodged at Chandmari in Guwahati. The court had earlier discharged him in the other case lodged at Chabua in Dibrugarh district by NIA,” said Gogoi’s lawyer Shantanu Borthakur.

The NIA had filed the two cases under several sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act (UAPAA).

The cases pertained to criminal conspiracy, sedition, promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc., assertions against national integrity, support to terrorist organisation etc.

“The court’s ruling on Thursday is a blow to NIA and its attempts to target Gogoi. We are overwhelmed by the verdict,” said Bhasco De Saikia, working president, Raijor Dal.

Gogoi was granted bail in connection with the Chabua case by the NIA court in October last year. But the investigation agency had approached the Gauhati high court challenging the bail order.

In April this year, the Gauhati HC held that the NIA court was right in granting bail to Gogoi and dismissed the appeal by the investigating agency. Last week, the NIA court granted two days’ permission to Gogoi to meet his son, who was suffering from Covid19, as well as his ailing 84-year-old mother.

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