Guwahati, Jan 10 (PTI) The BJP government has gone “mad” and is attempting to create an “emergency-like” situation in Assam, noted RTI activist Akhil Gogoi said after police Thursday registered a sedition case against for making comments on the citizenship bill.
However, the BJP accused Gogoi of having links with Maoists, being a “professional” agitator and working to fulfil the political agenda of others.
Besides Gogoi, sedition cases were also registered against Sahitya Akademi awardee Assamese litterateur Hiren Gohain and senior journalist Manjit Mahanta for their comments on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a police official said.
“The BJP government has gone mad and is trying to create an emergency-like situation to suppress a spontaneous movement by the people of Assam against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” Gogoi, who is also Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) chief, told reporters here.
The KMSS along with its 70 partner organisations is on the forefront of protests against the bill in Assam.
“It is unfortunate that a learned person like Gohain sir has been targeted by the government. I am used to case upon case being filed on me and going to jail has become a lifestyle for me,” Gogoi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma “have failed to protect the interest of the Assamese”, the KMSS leader alleged.
“I consider it as a matter of honour to be called a deshdrohi for trying to protect the interest of the Assamese,” Gogoi said.
Shortly after the sedition cases were registered, a panel of BJP spokespersons addressed a press conference claiming that Gogoi has Maoist links and is “terrorising” people with a “false issue” by campaigning against the bill.
“Akhil Gogoi is related with Maoists and other Left linked persons. He is a professional agitator. He is working to fulfil someone else’s political agenda,” BJP spokesperson Mominul Awal said.
Like an elephant, Gogoi also has two sets of teeth, he said.
“He shows people the outer teeth on the Hindu Bangladeshi issue, while he chews with the inner teeth sitting with Muslim Bangladeshis,” the BJP leader said, adding that Gogoi was “terrorising people with a false issue”.
Gogoi, however, said the BJP is not realising that the protests are now being spearheaded by the people, with all sections coming out disapproving the bill.
“People are protesting to protect the identity and language of the Assamese and the attempts by the government to suppress these protests will not succeed,” the RTI activist said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha two days ago, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
The BJP spokesperson claimed that Clause-6 of the Assam Accord will “safeguard” the state’s people.”But people like Akhil Gogoi are misleading them with a flimsy logic. It is our fault that we could not alert and expose Gogoi,” Awal said.
He alleged that the All Assam Minority Students’ Union was set up to give security to Bangladeshi Muslims and was a part of the Gogoi-led 70 organisations.
On filing of sedition charges, another BJP spokesperson and senior advocate, Bijon Mahajan, said,”If someone breaks a law, a case can be filed. Only a probe will prove their role and whether they are culprits.” Mahajan also criticised the organisations for calling bandhs over the bill, claiming such mode of agitation has been declared illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court several times.
Gohain, Gogoi and Mahanta were booked by the Assam Police for their remarks against the bill at an event three days ago, even as the state witnesses protest against the legislation.
The administration has also imposed prohibitory orders in parts of the city.
Gogoi said the government must realise that it cannot suppress a genuine protest by imposing Sections 144 in a parts of Guwahati.
The Guwahati police has imposed Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in areas under Dispur, Bhangagarh, Basishta and Hatigaon police stations, banning gathering of more than five people to ensure no protests are held. “Assam will become quiet only if the bill is not be passed in Rajya Sabha. If passed, the agitation will be intensified,” the KMSS chief said.
Gogoi said he might be arrested at any moment but “even if I am in jail, the agitation against the bill will continue by the people and will be intensified during Rajya Sabha session from January 31 to February 11.”
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.