Assam RTI activist Akhil Gogoi booked for alleged Maoist link, CAA stir
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a case against Akhil Gogoi, a right to information (RTI) activist and an advisor to Assam-based farmers’ group Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), under the newly amended Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 2019, for his alleged links with Maoists and on charges of fomenting trouble in the state after the passage of the amended citizenship act.
In the same first information report (FIR) registered on Saturday, which HT has accessed, Gogoi has been charged with criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.
Gogoi, who was arrested by the Jorhat police on Thursday night and is in jail, is the first person from Assam to be charged under UAPA, 2019, after Parliament passed it in August.
UAPA empowers law enforcement agencies to designate an individual as a “terrorist” if he is found to be involved in or even encourages terror activities, and attach his/her properties. It also provides for putting travel bans on such individuals once they are declared terrorists.
NIA is likely to seek Gogoi’s custody in a court on Monday and interrogate him about his meetings with CPI (Maoist) functionaries, a senior official said.
The NIA FIR, based on local police’s information, alleges that Gogoi, a resident of Jorhat’s Selenghat and a founder-member of KMSS, “secretly merged its organisation with the Revolutionary Communist Centre (RCC) in 2009”. RCC was later dissolved and merged with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Gogoi was “closely associated with” the top members/cadres of CPI (Maoist) and took over the responsibility of the terror outfit in Assam from its leader, Amitav Bagchi, the FIR claims.
On CAA protests, the FIR says, “Akhil Gogoi, Dhaijya Konwar [KMSS joint general secretary], Manas Konwar, Bittu Sonowal and others have used the passage of CAB in Parliament as an opportunity to promote enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, and done acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, using visible representations and spoken words, thus endangering the security and sovereignty of the state and which is prejudicial to national integration.”
Santanu Borthakur, Gogoi’s lawyer, said, “We have no details about the case. Akhil Gogoi is at Jorhat jail after Assam Police registered an FIR against him based on complaints by some individuals. We have come to know of the NIA case through the media.”