Speak­ing up for As­samese is my crime: Akhil Go­goi

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Rahul Kar­makar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

RSS­backed BJP govt has ar­rested me for speak­ing up for As­samese (as) I op­posed the de­ci­sion to dump out­siders, specif­i­cally Hin­dus from Bangladesh, on As­sam

Ac­tivist Akhil Go­goi, ar­rested on charges of sedi­tion on Wed­nes­day, said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coali­tion gov­ern­ment has tar­geted him for speak­ing up for the As­samese.

He also warned of an up­ris­ing of the in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties as mem­bers of his peas­ants’ body, Kr­ishak Mukti San­gram Samiti (KMSS) protested across the state on Thurs­day de­mand­ing his re­lease within 24 hours.

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon, a lo­cal court in east­ern As­sam’s Di­bru­garh gave the po­lice four days’ cus­tody of Go­goi. The po­lice had sought 14 days.

The day saw KMSS mem­bers block­ing high­ways for sev­eral hours seek­ing Go­goi’s un­con­di­tional re­lease. Many camped out­side the cen­tral po­lice sta­tion in east­ern As­sam’s Di­bru­garh town where Go­goi has been kept.

Most protests were held in mi­nor­ity-dom­i­nated ar­eas such as Mori­gaon, Bar­peta, Ho­jai and Kal­ga­sia.

Di­bru­garh deputy com­mis­sioner Laya Mad­duri said a few com­pa­nies of para­mil­i­tary forces have been de­ployed in the town to main­tain peace. “Law will take its own course,” she told re­porters, re­ply­ing to a ques­tion on what Go­goi’s fu­ture.

The Di­bru­garh po­lice had ar­rested Go­goi from his res­i­dence in Go­laghat town, about 180km west, for “ha­tred-spew­ing speech” at a pub­lic rally on Tues­day. He was slapped with six sec­tions of the IPC, in­clud­ing Sec­tion 121 for “wag­ing, or at­tempt­ing to wage war, or abet­ting wag­ing of war, against the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia” and Sec­tion 124(A) deal­ing with sedi­tion.

The po­lice said Go­goi had “de­liv­ered speeches against com­mu­nal har­mony and an­nounced that they are ready to use hang­dang (ma­chete) and AK-47 ri­fle” in their move­ment against the gov­ern­ment’s bid to set­tle out­siders.

“The RSS-backed BJP gov­ern­ment has ar­rested me for speak­ing up for the As­samese peo­ple. My crime is that I op­posed the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to dump out­siders, specif­i­cally Hin­dus from Bangladesh, on As­sam,” an ag­i­tated Go­goi told re­porters at the po­lice sta­tion.

The KMSS leader ac­cused chief min­is­ter Sar­bananda Sonowal and health min­is­ter Hi­manta Biswa Sarma of be­tray­ing the As­samese peo­ple to ap­pease Ben­gali Hindu mi­grants that the RSS wants re­ha­bil­i­tated.

Sonowal, re­act­ing to the ar­rest, said his gov­ern­ment can­not tol­er­ate any­one threat­en­ing to take up arms. “Such threats un­der­mine democ­racy,” he said.

But op­po­si­tion par­ties said the gov­ern­ment has tried to curb the free­dom of ex­pres­sion. “Go­goi’s ar­rest was un­war­ranted,” said Badrud­din Aj­mal, chief of All In­dia United Demo­cratic Front.

Sun­day and BJP lead­ers will wield broom, again, to pro­mote clean In­dia. In­dia’s rul­ing party has de­cided to ob­serve Septem­ber 17, prime min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s birth­day, as Sewa Di­vas to pro­mote his pet scheme Swachh Bharat.

Min­is­ters, MPs, MLAs and district level of­fice-bear­ers of the party have been asked to un­der­take so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties as part of the PM’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion.

“Party lead­ers will take part in clean­li­ness drive at pub­lic places like bus stand, hospi­tal and oth­ers,” a leader said. Health camps will also be or­gan­ised.

BJP had or­gan­ised sim­i­lar events last year, with party chief Amit Shah tak­ing part in Clean In­dia pro­gramme in Te­lan­gana.

On his birth­day, Modi will be in Gu­jarat to at­tend Nar­mada Ma­hot­sav pro­gramme, an event to cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion of the Sar­dar Sarovar Dam project which peo­ple in Mad­hya Pradesh have been protest­ing against, al­leg­ing that those who have lost their homes have not been re­ha­bil­i­tated by the BJP gov­ern­ment.

Sewa Di­vas, party lead­ers say, will be an oc­ca­sion to high­light Modi’s com­mit­ment to achieve ‘clean In­dia’ by 2022 – the 75th year of In­dia’s In­de­pen­dence.

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