Guwahati, July 2: Independent Assam legislator Akhil Gogoi on Friday asserted that he would revive the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the state and continue to agitate for the cause of development.
A day after he was released from jail, he claimed that leaders of the anti-CAA movement betrayed the people of the state while he was imprisoned. Gogoi spent nearly 19 months behind bars for his alleged role in the violent protests against the CAA in December 2019. He fought and won the recently-concluded assembly elections from the jail.
"I became an MLA through the path of agitation. I am not turning my back on agitations now," Gogoi said while addressing the people of Sivasagar, his constituency. The Raijor Dal president reached his Sivasagar constituency for the first time since he was elected.
"I want to tell the government in clear words that I have not surrendered. The language of my agitation has attained a new dimension now. It has become extended and wider," he said.
Speaking to reporters at Nagaon, en route to Sivasagar from Guwahati, he said, "Now that I am out, I want to assure people that the anti-CAA movement will resume. No (illegal) foreigner will be allowed to stay in the state," he added. Alleging that the BJP-led state government is not sympathetic towards the problems of the people, Gogoi said that he will raise in the assembly the issues of big dams and toll gates.
"This out-pour of people's love for a jailed person like me proves that I was wrongly confined. The BJP kept me behind bars and won a second term but this won't happen again. In 2026, a new government will be formed. The BJP-hathao (remove BJP) movement starts from today," the Raijor Dal president said. Gogoi, who created history by becoming the first person in the state to be elected to the assembly from prison, told the people of his constituency that they have done their job and now it is his responsibility to work for their development.
"I had not aspired to become an MLA. I put up my candidature on people's demand," he said. Promising to ensure development of Sivasagar on a par with the chief minister's constituency, the first-time MLA said, "Until it happens, I wont let the chief minister or any other minister be in peace." While being felicitated by local people and organisations in front of the iconic Rang Ghar, an amphitheatre of the Ahom era, Gogoi said that he will place a proposal in the state assembly on July 13 to develop and declare Sivasagar as a heritage town.
Besides the historical importance of the town, the intellectual heritage of Sivasagar, from where the first magazines in Assamese were published under the British colonial rule, needs to be preserved. A national-level library, archive and museum should be established in such a manner that a tourist can walk in to get an understanding of the traditions and culture of Sivasagar, he said. The problems of flood, erosion, embankments and other issues will also be taken up by him, Gogoi said. He urged people that in view of the prevailing pandemic, they should come in small groups of two or three persons for meeting him with their issues at the Circuit House, where he will stay for five days.
Gogoi, who was arrested on December 12, 2019, from Jorhat at the peak of anti-CAA protests, was cleared of all charges by an NIA court here on Thursday, paving the way for him to walk out to freedom.