GUWAHATI: The Assam Police have registered cases against three persons, including a scholar, and slapped the charge of sedition against them.
The trio – scholar Hiren Gohain, activist Akhil Gogoi and journalist Manjit Mahanta – had allegedly said that the demand for Assam’s sovereignty might arise if the Narendra Modi government goes ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 by ignoring the voices of people.
Gohain, a known BJP critic, described the police action as muzzling the voices of dissent.
“The BJP has brought an undemocratic and communal bill and we were raising our voice against it to protect democracy,” Gohain told reporters.
Gogoi is the leader of peasants’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee which is spearheading the anti-bill protests in the state. He had allegedly said at a protest rally that if the Centre went ahead with the anti-Assamese bill, independence could be an option for the community.
Two-time former Chief Minister and leader of Asom Gana Parishad Prafulla Kumar Mahanta dubbed the police action as “shameful”.
Senior journalist Haidar Hussain said, “The case registered against the trio is a suicidal move by the government. We will not keep quiet but stage protests against it”.
The Paresh Baruah faction of banned insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent was equally critical. “The government will have to pay a price if it does not desist from taking such anti-Assamese steps,” the outfit’s military chief Paresh Baruah told a local news channel.
The All Assam Students’ Union described it as “sheer misuse of power” by the state government.