“My ‘crime’ is that I have challenged the murderers of democracy”

Translated from Assamese by members of Delhi Action Committee for Assam

Translators’ note: Akhil Gogoi, leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), has been booked under the National Security Act (NSA) on 25 September 2017. A total of 122 cases against him have been clubbed together under the NSA including charges like “giving protection to illegal foreigners in Kaziranga National Park,” “having links with ULFA and the Maoists,” “instigating people to take up arms against the government” during his address in a Mass Rally on 12th September at Moran, etc. Gogoi was arrested on fabricated charges of sedition on 13 September and is currently lodged in Dibrugarh jail in Assam. He has been arrested for old cases registered in Guwahati, Jhaklabanda, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Golaghat, etc. None of the cases are new but have been included to accuse him of instigating against the State for some time.

Last year, Gogoi was arrested and incarcerated in various jails for 78 days since 2 October for protesting against forceful evictions and police killings of citizens in Kaziranga as well as raising his voice against the communally motivated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The state government booked him with serious charges – criminal conspiracy, rioting, being armed with deadly weapons, attempt to murder, and resorting to assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty. In addition, he had also been sentenced to prison in connection to cases registered against him in 2015, 2013 and 2006.

Why is Akhil Gogoi being repeatedly incarcerated by the current government? Why is NSA being slapped on him? Why is the BJP so afraid of Akhil Gogoi and KMSS, the largest and left-leaning social movement in Assam in the twenty first century? What is the threat that Akhil Gogoi is posing to the Indian State?

Respected people of Assam,

I am not a threat to national security; I represent the opposition to and a great enemy of the communal and anti-democratic fascist force – the BJP–RSS – the dispensation that is currently in power. This force is conspiring to destroy the democratic, socialist, secular, and republican ideals brought about by the freedom fighters of our country and guaranteed by the Constitution of India. They have also managed to destroy the idea of equality in our country. They have transformed democracy into autocracy, and the idea of equality into communalism. That is why the democratic and progressive individuals across the country have opposed the BJP–RSS. I am also in the same boat with those millions of people of this country who believe in democratic ideals.

I have been booked under the National Security Act (NSA) for some old ongoing court cases. The BJP government in Assam has charged me with having links with the ULFA and Maoists. I wish to inform you that I have not been involved with any armed organisation. My ‘crime’ is that I have spoken against injustice. My ‘crime’ is that I have challenged the murderers of democracy. I have tried to unite people of Assam under the banner of our organisation, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), and have exposed the real face of the BJP–RSS. People are realising these facts. And hence the BJP–RSS are afraid of me and have re-arrested me under the NSA. My ‘mistake’ is that I do not and have not compromised. Unlike many leaders, I do not secretly ally with the ruling dispensation.

By putting me in jail, the BJP–RSS want to bring into Assam around 1 crore 90 lakh of Bangladeshis by passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Whether they are Bangladeshis or other foreigners, foreigners would always be foreigners; there is no question of religion in this. People in Assam cannot take anymore burden of additional populace. That I have tried to help the people realise it is my ‘crime’. The BJP–RSS want to expedite the process of building big dams. They want to steal the water of Assam by connecting the rivers of Assam. They have strategically orchestrated to hold the people of Assam captive forever in the venomous ties of oppression and suffering. Such intention of theirs would boomerang eventually. They have revoked the status of Assam as a Special Category state. Nobody protested against it. They have scrapped the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP). They have completely taken over the economic authority of the states by levying GST. They have planned to destroy the people of the country by facilitating inflation. In order to mask such capitalist conspiracies of theirs, they have created the tragic drama of Hindu–Muslim conflicts and clashes. We have committed many ‘crimes’. Our ‘crime’ is that we have exposed this conspiracy by the BJP–RSS. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, and Himanta Biswa Sarma have sold themselves to the powers that be in Delhi. They are now mere puppets. They want to control KMSS and me because we have been exposing them continuously.

I believe that the people of Assam would realise the situation. I believe that the people of Assam would wake up soon. And they would come out to the streets demanding liberty and equality.

I have been arrested because the BJP–RSS are afraid of the fact that we would eventually wake up the people of Assam. All the charges against me are completely false and fabricated. They want to establish Hinduvta by establishing colleges in the name of Deen Dayal Upadhayay, thereby distance and eliminate the idea of Assam. We have fought against it and that is our ‘crime’.

We will have to unite. By uniting the people of Assam, our aim is to build an Assam where the people would be able to exercise their democratic rights.

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