While the entire nation grapples with the threat of the novel coronavirus that has swept across the world destroying lives and economies, the eyes of Assamese citizenry lies squarely on the fate of imprisoned Akhil Gogoi who led the state in its opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Now, the focus has shifted towards Akhil's family which awaits the return of the activist from jail after 4 long months. Akhil Gogoi's son, Nachiketa, recently put his memories of his father and drew a portrait of the anti-CAA leader. Nachiketa's portrait of his father depicts his father at his fiercest and snarling best, and is reminiscent of his visage during the CAA protest era.
According to Nachiketa's mother, Gitashree, Nachiketa had urged her to take the picture to his father in the prison. "However, I told him that we are not allowed to visit him in the prison now. Then, I asked him (Nachiketa) if I can put it up on Facebook, but he said that he is not comfortable as it is his own right. However, he later gave me permission to exhibit it."
Yesterday, Akhil's mother, said to be ailing from a range of ailments took to the front of her ramshackle house in Selenghat in Mariani to stage a mini-protest for the release of Akhil. She was also joined by Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi, a vocal opponent of the CAA, and other women from the locality.
Gogoi's home in Jorhat district has meanwhile become a protest zone ever since he was put behind bars in December last. Women, especially, have raised anti-CAA slogans from the area and demanded the peasant leader's release. However, their cries have fallen on deaf ears. So far.
The latest cycle of arrests against Akhil, it may be recalled, began during his active participation in the anti-CAA protests and began when he was arrested from Jorhat on December 12, 2019.
The NIA failed to file a charge sheet against him within the mandatory 90 day period and therefore, the Gauhati High Court granted him bail. However, the Siblvasagar police immediately re-arrested him in a case that was registered a year back. On March 26, Gogoi was granted bail in another case of the Panbazar Police Station (crime branch).
The case was registered in January and was once again, related to anti-CAA protests. The Government advocates are yet to reveal the cases pending against him. On April 7, the Gauhati High Court issues an interim stay order on a bail in the case. On April 23, the Court stayed his bail and he was sent to custody yet again.
It should be noted that 3 new cases were filed against Gogoi in April 22. Two were filed by Dibrugarh Sadar thana of Dibrugarh district and another from Tinsukia district.
Gogoi, a vocal opponent of the BJP and RSS, was sent to judicial custody again on April 23 last after being produced in the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) court in Guwahati.
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