Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia on Tuesday slammed the Assam government for arresting peasants' leader Gogoi under the National Security Act (NSA) saying 'it is not a healthy trend for democracy'.
"The police has rearrested the peasants' leader on Monday in connection with some old cases and charged him under the NSA," Saikia told reporters in Guwahati on Tuesday.
"Akhil Gogoi was only protesting against the BJP government's failure to fulfill the poll promises it had made before the 2016 polls in Assam," Saikia pointed out.
The Assam Police had on September 13 arrested Gogoi on charges of instigating people to take up arms against the government at a public rally at Moran in Dibrugarh district.
On Monday, when Gogoi was supposed to be presented in court, the Chief Judicial Magistrate Dibrugarh received a letter from the Nagaon Deputy Commissioner saying that Gogoi has been charged under the NSA as 12 out of 33 cases registered against him merit the invoking of NSA.
The cases include the Kaziranga eviction in 2016, for which Gogoi was arrested on charge of inciting illegal settlers which resulted in the death of two persons in police firing.
"There have been several protests against the Congress when the party was in power in Assam for last 15 years. However, none of the agitators are arrested under NSA. It is not expected from the BJP government," Saikia said.
He said the BJP government wants to silence whoever speaks against it or opposes it. "This is not a healthy trend for democracy," he added.
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on said that the arrest of the KMSS leader shows the ruling BJP's dictatorial attitude.
"The arrest of Akhil Gogoi is nothing but exposes the government dictatorial attitude. Besides, in a democracy everybody has the right to criticize the government. Gogoi is very critical of the government and he was critical during my time also. But we didn't put behind the National Security Act (NSA) as we didn't consider him anti-national," the former chief minister said
Today, Gogoi is arrested under the NSA; tomorrow, it will be our turn. We strongly oppose this act of the government. It is an attempt to not only kill the jatiotabadi (sub-nationalist) voice in the State but also to kill democracy
A civil society group in Assam has also condemned the arrest of Gogoi under NSA.
Expressing serious concern over the arrest of Gogoi, the group in a statement on Tuesday said that the incident of the arrest of the KMSS chief under this stringent Act is an indication of Assam Government's fascist mentality.
The citizens' group said by arresting Gogoi two times in a year for launching resistance movement against the communal design of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led Assam Government, it has crushed the democratic values of our country.
"Such fascist act of the government has once again reminded the people of Assam of the days of terror unleashed by the State in 90's," the statement said.
Renowned scholar Dr Hiren Gohain, well-known novelist Nirupama Borgohain, educationist Udayaditya Bharali, senior journalist Ajit Kr Bhuyan , novelist Arupa Patangia Kalita, poet Samir Tanti, journalists Haidor Hussain and Prashanta Rajguru, writer Debabrata Das, lawyer Arup Borbora, physician Nobhonil Barua, writer Abani Borthakur, activist Monjit Mahanta , playwright Sitanath Lahkar, story writer Jyotish Sikdar, academicians Xonzoi Borbora , Chandan Sarma and Pallabi Deka Buzarbaruah have signed the statement.
The Delhi Action Committee for Assam (DACA) has planned a protest demonstration on September 28 in New Delhi against the arrest of KMSS chief Gogoi.
Coming down heavily on the BJP Government, the DACA in a statement said, "Why is the BJP so afraid of Akhil Gogoi and KMSS, the largest and left-leaning social movement in Assam in the twenty first century?"
"We have been observing that the current regime is not only afraid of social activists trying to raise voices against communalism and the injustice and oppression meted out to people by the BJP--RSS. The BJP--RSS are well aware with the mass support KMSS have and their capacity to mobilize masses. Therefore, the government is afraid and hence it has left no stone unturned to stop Akhil and KMSS. As a result, Akhil is being repeatedly arrested and imprisoned. It is in fact the BJP--RSS who are the real threats to national security, and not activists like Akhil Gogoi."
The Assam Jatiotabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) has also condemned the arrest of Gogoi.
"Today, Gogoi is arrested under the NSA; tomorrow, it will be our turn. We strongly oppose this act of the government. It is an attempt to not only kill the jatiotabadi (sub-nationalist) voice in the state but also to kill democracy," The Wire quoted AJYCP general secretary Palash Changmai as saying.
Besides KMSS, several other influential organizations including AJYCP, Tai Ahom Chatra Santha have protested against the rearrest of Gogoi.