Peasant leader and activist from Assam, Akhil Gogoi who was elected as an MLA from Sivasagar in the recently concluded Assembly elections, has levelled allegations of manhandling against police personnel and a magistrate while they were escorting him to the Assembly for the oath taking ceremony of new legislators on Friday, May 21.
Gogoi, who has been in jail since December 2019 on charges of sedition and inciting violence during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Assam, is the first from the state to contest and win election from jail. As per reports, the incarcerated peasant leader and president of the newly floated political party, Raijor Dal, was brought to the Assembly in a bus accompanied by 20 security personnel from the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital where he is currently undergoing treatment.
The recently elected MLA’s manhandling created a furore in the Assembly grounds, as Gogoi claimed to media persons gathered there, “In total violation of COVID-19 protocol, I was flanked by security personnel from all around and they are pushing and shoving me inside the premises. Is this the way an MLA is treated?”
He also alleged that the policemen were pulling at his clothes and not allowing him to speak to the media. “This is an insult to the people of Assam. You can kill me, but cannot stifle my voice this way,” he added while addressing media persons.
Not only that, Gogoi also claimed that he was brought to the Assembly in a ramshackle bus and was mistreated by the magistrate present there.
Also read: Akhil Gogoi First in Assam to Win Election from Jail
Notably, Gogoi submitted a written complaint to pro-tem Speaker Phanibhushan Choudhuri about the mistreatment meted by police personnel on the way to and within the Assembly.
Slamming the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over the treatment meted out to the elected representative, leaders of the opposition Congress have termed this as an insult to the democratic tradition of the country. Senior Congress leader Debabrata Saikia said that the allegations against Akhil Gogoi are yet to be proved in court. “In such a situation why is he being treated as a common criminal and pushed and shoved while being brought to the Assembly? If the allegations against him are proved, then people will accept the court’s verdict. But such behaviour by security personnel towards an elected representative is very unfortunate,” Saikia added.
Another Congress leader Rupjyoti Kurmi also lashed out at the police and the ruling party saying, “The BJP government has stopped caring about democratic values. This is a very unfortunate situation.”
Leaders of Raijor Dal including Bhasco D’ Saikia, Dhorjyo Kunwar and Mukuta Deka also condemned the police for their treatment of Akhil Gogoi. They alleged that the government is insulting the people of Assam through the way it has mishandled the newly elected MLA. “However, Gogoi will continue to be the voice of the oppressed people of Assam,” the party said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Gogoi and other leaders of the Opposition have requested the new Speaker Bishwajit Daimary of the United People’s Party Liberal, to allow the Raijor Dal leader to attend all sessions of the Assembly. Highlighting that he has been given special permission to only attend the oath taking ceremony, Akhil Gogoi said that he has not received permission for attending the Assembly sessions on May 22 and 24. He added that in the Delhi Assembly, even those who have been proven guilty in court were allowed to take part in the proceedings and emphasised that the charges against him are yet to be proven.
Congress leader Bharat Narah also supported Gogoi’s claims and requested the new Speaker to allow his attendance in all sessions of the Assembly.