Court Authorizes imprisoned Assam Activist Akhil Gogoi to take oath in Assembly

Raijor Dal leader and peasant activist Akhil Gogoi will appear in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Assam.  Akhil Gogoi, who is currently incarcerated on UAPA charges, will stand for office in the Sivasagar constituency. A specific NIA court docket permitted him to take the oath as legislator of Assam Meeting, making him the first Assamese to win an election from behind bars.

Since his appeal was dismissed by the Gauhati High Court last year, he lodged a bail petition in the top court. Having heard a petition from Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi, NIA Special Court Judge Pranjal Das permitted him to be sworn in as a legislator at the Assam Assembly compound. 

Independent candidate Akhil Gogoi became the primary Assamese to win an election while incarcerated. After former trade union minister George Fernandes, who secured the Lok Sabha election in 1977 from Muzaffarpur in Bihar by and over three lakh votes despite being detained since June 1976 during the emergency, Akhil Gogoi’s victory has been labeled the “most impressive.”

In the latest Assam Assembly elections, Akhil Gogoi, who was imprisoned after being arrested by the NIA on sedition and terrorism charges, defeated Surabhi Rajkonwari of the BJP by 11,875 votes. Raijor Dal’s leader was apprehended by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in December 2019 for his alleged role in massive riots against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act across the state.

In one of the cases, the Gauhati high court affirmed the NIA court’s decision to grant bail to Gogoi. He remains in jail while he is still to be released on bail in a separate lawsuit brought by the investigation body.

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