GUWAHATI, Sept 15 - Several leading citizens have condemned the arrest of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi by police on the night of September 13 on charges of uttering some words that allegedly incited sedition, while addressing a public meeting on the Bamunbari Tea Garden playground the previous day.
They described this act of the police as an attack on the freedom of speech as well as civil liberty and also on the basic tenets of the country�s Constitution.
In a statement here, the leading citizens, who include Dr Hiren Gohain, Prof Udayaditya Bharali, former NEHU professors Apurba Kumar Barua and Manorama Sarma, former IAS officer Jyotiprasad Saikia and senior journalists Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, Deben Tamuly and Monoram Gogoi, said Akhil Gogoi had in fact not incited violent actions against the government, he had simply warned the government not to hurt the sentiments of the indigenous people.
The Bamunbari Tea Garden playground meeting was held on the issue of the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, providing Constitutional safeguard to the indigenous people of the State.
The leading citizens also described Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), under which the KMSS leader has been booked, as an outdated legal provision, which cannot be applied in a democratic country. This section of the IPC was drafted by the British colonial rulers and the Supreme Court of India has also taken exception to its application. This approach of the Supreme Court is evident in its 2016 judgement in the Kedarnath Singh versus the Government of Bihar case, they said.
It needs mention here that Section 124 (A) of the IPC is meant for tackling those people �Whoever, by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in [India].�
The leading citizens resented that while arresting him, the Moran Police treated the KMSS leader like a fugitive or an insurgent.
They, however, made it clear that they do not agree with all the deeds of the KMSS leader. But they are for his democratic rights, including his right to speech.