Assam: Allegations of Right to Health violation in Jail levelled after Akhil Gogoi’s case

Assam: Allegations of Right to Health violation in Jail levelled after Akhil Gogoi’s case

Akhil Gogoi Akhil Gogoi

Gross violation of the Right to Health of the jail inmates in Assam amid the global health emergency caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has drawn concern and raised questions on the part of the government regarding the COVID management.

The issue has become more significant after the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act leaders Bitu Sonowal and Dhajya Konwar were tested positive for the lethal virus.

The trio, who has been lodged in jail for their role in the statewide protest against Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam, has been unwell since late June 2020 in jail.

Also read: Assam: Guwahati Jail turns COVID-19 hotspot, KMSS alleges after two anti-CAA agitators test positive

While speaking to INSIDENE, the peasants’ organisation Joint Secretary Mukut Deka said, “The Right to Health of all the inmates including Akhil Gogoi and other KMSS leaders have been violated by not giving any heed to the ailing health in time amid this coronavirus pandemic.”

He further accused the jail authority of being failed to maintain transparency. “The Guwahati Central Jail, Assam is not safe anymore. It has turned to the COVID-19 hotspot. As per the information, out of 10 samples, three were tested positive yesterday. So, it can be said that 30 percent are infected. Accordingly, if tests of 1200 inmates are done, then we are sure, around 500 will be found positive for the lethal virus.”

Conspiracy against Akhil

Meanwhile, saying that all the laws have been violated in case of Akhil Gogoi, the Assam parliamentarian and Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi told INSIDENE, “This is pure malicious intent of the BJP government at the Centre and Assam to keep the human rights activist in jail and prevent him from his work.”

Gogoi, while condemning the prolonged detention of Akhil Gogoi, further urged the BJP government to let the law take its own course if they have courage, instead of trying to manipulate it.

Besides, lashing at the BJP government over no transparency, he said, “There is no transparency anywhere under the BJP rule. Either it is from jail or NIA or from BJP government, we have seen ono transparency. This is a pure conspiracy against Akhil Gogoi.”

Undemocratic detention

Former three-time Assam Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on July 8th, 2020 demanded the immediate release of the RTI activists and the KMSS (Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti) leader Akhil Gogoi and others.

“Detention of Akhil Gogoi and others is undemocratic, unlawful, violation of democratic rights. We are urging the Government to release them immediately,” Gogoi tweeted.

Also read: ‘Undemocratic detention’: Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi demands Akhil’s immediate release

IMA reveals government’s failure

The All Assam Students’ Union general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi, while slamming the government over the failure in COVID-19 management, said, “The Indian Medical Association’s letter to the Health Minister has revealed the government’s failure in COVID-19 management. There is no need to say anything.”

“It is only the government’s mismanagement for which the state has witnessed a massive spike in COVID-19 cases and that is clear,” he added.

It may be mentioned that the Assam wing of the IMA wrote a letter to the Health Minister on July 7th, 2020 expressed strong resentment at the recent changes in COVID-19 management policy by the government.

Also read: Assam IMA resents changes in Govt’s COVID-19 management policy

“With the present surge of COVID-19 patients, it will be difficult for the government to control the situation if proper planning is not done. Increasing hospital beds without manpower planning will be a futile exercise as we have very limited resources in terms of doctors and health workers,” the association stated in the letter.

Article 21

Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen. The Supreme Court has held that the right to live with human dignity, enshrined in Article 21, derives from the directive principles of state policy and therefore includes protection of health. Further, it has also been held that the right to health is integral to the right to life and the government has a constitutional obligation to provide health facilities.

A number of public interest petitions were filed in the apex court for the protection of the Right to Health.


Akhil Gogoi was arrested on 12th Dec 2019, from Jorhat, sent to NIA custody for 10 days in Delhi, and taken back and lodged in Guwahati Central Jail, Assam since 26th Dec. KMSS Secretary Dhaijya Konwar and Bittu Sonowal, President of Chatra Mukti Sangram Samiti, a popular democratic student org in Assam, were arrested on 13th Dec and lodged in Guwahati Central Jail. On 7th Jan, both of them were tagged in the same fake UAPA case with Akhil Gogoi and are currently in NIA custody in Kamrup district. Manas Konwar was arrested on 13th Dec, released later and re-arrested from NIA Court, Guwahati, Assam towards the end of January 2020 being slapped with similar charges under UAPA. Earlier, the NIA failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 90 days, which warranted Akhil’s release but he was immediately arrested for other cases.

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