The Gauhati High court today rejected the bail plea of Akhil Gogoi, an anti-citizenship law activist arrested in 2019 for sedition based on his alleged role in violence during the protests that gripped the nation last year. This is the second time his plea has been rejected since August when an NIA court had refused his application, which he then appealed in the higher court.
During the febrile anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) movement, Mr Gogoi was arrested from Jorhat in December 2019 as a "preventive measure" in view of the deteriorating law and order situation in Assam. They were later handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe their alleged role in the violent protests and their possible links with Maoist elements.
In March 2020, he was granted bail by the NIA court, but this was stayed by the Gauhati High Court. Three of his associates, who were arrested a day after him, have already walked out on bail. The four were later arrested in a number of older cases, but again granted bail.
However, Mr Gogoi, the founder of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, has been charged of sedition under the UAPA law in two cases, now better known as the Chandmari and Chabua cases.
In the meantime, Mr Gogoi tested positive for Covid-19 on July 11 and was treated at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
On July 17, the High Court granted him bail in three other cases: related to the burning of a circle office, a post office, and a United Bank of India branch in Dibrugarh district in December 2019.
His supporters formed a regional political party, the Raijor Dal, to take on the BJP in the upcoming Assam assembly polls scheduled for April-May.