GUWAHATI, April 10 � Peasant leader and general secretary of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS) Akhil Gogoi who was today detained under Section 144 CrPC as �a preventive measure to maintain law and order,� had to be released on PR bond after the arrest triggered a mass protest near the Panbazar Police Station. News of his arrest later led to protests in different parts of the State.
Supporters of Gogoi staged road blockades in several parts of the State in protest against his arrest.
The detention came while he was leading a procession towards Dighalipukhuripaar in support of implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill.
It needs mention that although the KMSS had sought permission for the procession, it was not granted by the district administration in view of the prohibitory orders in force in connection with tomorrow�s polls.
Prior to Gogoi�s detention, Additional Superintendent of Police (City) Longnit Terang assisted by a circle officer disrupted the press conference called by Gogoi midway at the Guwahati Press Club around 11:30 am on the strength of Section 126 of The Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951.
Section 126 of The Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 says that no person shall convene, hold, attend or address any public meeting within 48 hours in connection with an election and shall not also display by means of cinematography or television any election matter which is intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.
The Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) and the Senior Superintendent of Police (City) later in the evening told mediapersons that Gogoi was detained in apprehension of any kind of law and order problem (CrPC 144) and not under Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951
However, questions are being raised as to why the authorities concerned did not enforce the same law when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi himself addressed a press conference at Jorhat on April 3 even after the deadline for poll campaign (first phase) had ended.
Later, supporters of the RTI activist thronged the Panbazar Police Station demanding a clear stand on the issue by the Election Commission. They also demanded an apology from the State Chief Secretary.
�If I have violated the RPA, then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also should be detained under the same law. There can�t be two laws for two different persons on the same offence,� the peasant leader demanded.
Gogoi, who has been campaigning for a non-Congress Government in the State, also alleged that the Government has been resorting to unfair means to disrupt his activities.
Asserting that the Government had no right to disrupt his protest procession which was in support of Anna Hazare�s crusade against corruption and had nothing to do with elections, Gogoi sought to attribute it to a deep-rooted conspiracy against him.
Official sources said that Chief Minister Gogoi directed the Kamrup (Metro) administration to release Akhil Gogoi as soon as the news of the peasant leader�s arrest reached him, though the DC(Metro) denied any such development.
On the procession that was taken out later in the evening by the KMSS, the SSP(City) said that the matter would be examined.
Akhil Gogoi�s release followed an instruction from the Chief Minister who was at the adya shraddha ceremony of his press adviser Deba Kumar Bora at Jorhat at that time, sources said.
Later in the evening, Akhil Gogoi led a KMSS procession from Panbazar to Chandmari.
Meanwhile, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), in a statement, said that Akhil Gogoi was detained in accordance with the provisions of the law, and it would be wrong to drag the Congress party into the issue unnecessarily.
�The district administration had clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC banning assemblage of persons and taking out of processions. Since Akhil Gogoi took the law into his own hands by taking out the procession, he was detained,� it said.