Assamese activist out on bail, vows to oppose changes to Citizenship Act

Guwahati, (IANS): Assamese peasant leader and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi on Wednesday walked out of a district jail and vowed to launch a massive movement against the Centre’s move to grant citizenship to the “Hindu Bangladeshis” by passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

“I am happy to come out of the jail today. The charges framed against me by the BJP-led government in Assam were all baseless and this is why the Gauhati High Court has quashed the detention order against me under the National Security Act (NSA),” said Gogoi to the media waiting outside the Goalpara District Jail.

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Gogoi was arrested by the Assam Police on charges of sedition on September 23, after he spoke at a public rally at Moran. On September 24, Gogoi was booked under the NSA.

Gogoi who leads the farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) challenged the detention order under the NSA and the Gauhati High Court has quashed the detention order after hearing the petition filed by Gogoi’s counsel.

However, immediately after the High Court’s order, the Goalpara police arrested Gogoi and sent him to judicial custody.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Goalpara after hearing the case on Tuesday granted bail to Gogoi.

“The Assam government has alleged that I had links with the ULFA and Maoists and framed me under NSA. However, they failed to prove the charges in the court and hence the court released me,” he said adding that there was no democracy in the BJP-ruled Assam.

“The BJP wants to settle the Hindu Bangladeshis in Assam by amending the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. However, we are not going to tolerate any Bangladeshis who had entered the state after March 25, 1971.

“We are going to oppose the move to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament,” Akhil said.

Asked about the publication of a part of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), Gogoi said that KMSS wants a flawless NRC which helps in detecting and deporting the illegal Bangladeshis living in the state.