Akhil Gogoi
Akhil Gogoi

Guwahati: After one-and-a half years, jailed MLA and a local party president Akhil Gogoi is likely to be freed as the Guwahati-based special NIA court, on Thursday, acquitted him in the second of the two cases filed against him in connection with the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act stir in Assam in December 2019.

Gogoi's lawyers told the media that he is expected to be freed from the Guwahati Central jail soon. Gogoi and his three associates were accused in two cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The Independent lawmaker and his associates were last week cleared of all charges in the first case.

The 46-year-old jailed farmers' leader and Raijor Dal President Akhil Gogoi, was elected from eastern Assam's Sibsagar seat in the March-April assembly polls and currently lodged in Guwahati central jail. He is currently under treatment at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

The right activist has been in jail since December 2019, for allegedly fomenting violence during the anti-CAA agitations.

The National Investigation Agency had taken up the cases against him and his associates on the basis of two FIRs registered at the Chandmari police station in Guwahati and Chabua police stations in eastern Assam's Dibrugarh district.

"The NIA special court released him today (Thursday) in the Chandmari case. Last week the court discharged him in the Chabua case," Gogoi's lawyer Rahul Sensowa told the media.

Sensowa, who is one of the members of Gogoi's lawyers' team, said three others arrested along with Gogoi - Dharjya Kowar, Manas Konwar and Bitu Sonowal - were also discharged on Thursday. All the three activists are, however, already out on bail.

Gogoi and his associates are charged with criminal conspiracy, sedition, promoting enmity between groups on grounds such as religion, race and language, assertions against national integrity and support to a terrorist organization including Maoist link.

Welcoming the NIA court's ruling, Raijor Dal's working president Bhasco de Saikia said the court's verdict has exposed the BJP government's attempts to target the party president without any basis.

The NIA court had last week granted two days' parole to Gogoi to meet members of his family in Guwahati and eastern Assam's Jorhat. His 84-year-old mother Priyoda Gogoi is also ailing.

Akhil Gogoi is the first lawmaker in Assam to win an election from jail after his octogenarian mother, son Nasiketa and prominent rights leaders of the country campaigned for him.

Rights activist Medha Patkar, Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey, several students of Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University and intellectuals from different parts of the country and Assam had come to Sibsagar to campaign for Gogoi in the March-April elections to the 126-member Assam assembly.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in