GUWAHATI: The demand for the release of Assam’s arrested activist Akhil Gogoi has intensified. A social media campaign for his release was launched on Thursday. Gogoi has been in judicial custody for the past few months following his arrest by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He was arrested for his alleged linkage to the CPI (Maoist).
The campaign is the brainchild of Akhil Gogoi Anuragi Mancha Asom (Akhil Gogoi Fan Club Assam). It had appealed to people on Wednesday to write two lines “Justice for Akhil Gogoi” and “Release Akhil Gogoi” on social media as a part of the campaign.
A similar appeal was made by singer Manash Robin.
“As our physical movement has been curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we thought the best way we could reach out to people would be through social media. We urge people to write the two lines on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc,” the singer had told journalists.
Congress stalwart and three-time former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also made an appeal for the activist’s release.
Meanwhile, there is confusion regarding his health status. His legal counsel Santanu Barthakur claimed the activist had tested positive for Covid-19. The state government rubbished the claim.
“I just received the news that he has tested positive for Covid-19. I don’t know where he will be taken,” Barthakur had told this newspaper on Thursday morning.
However, Inspector General of Prisons, Dasarath Das, said the claim of the advocate was “not true”.
“We got him tested yesterday (Wednesday). It was an antigen test the report of which was negative. Manas Konwar also tested negative. However, Dharjya Konwar and Bitu Sonowal had tested positive and were shifted,” Das told this newspaper.
Manas, Dharjya, and Bitu are Gogoi’s associates. Official sources said the report of Akhil Gogoi’s RT-PCR test was awaited.
On May 29, the NIA had filed the charge-sheet against Gogoi and his three associates for alleged sedition and terror activities vis-à-vis their role in violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that rocked the state in December last year.