Renowned scholar Hiren Gohain said that he has always opposed secessionist thinking. Gohain said this after Assam police slapped charges of sedition against him besides KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi and journalist-activist Manjit Mahanta
“I have come to know that an FIR of sedition has been registered against me at Latashil police station. I don’t know the details of the case. On what basis such a case has been filed, that I don’t know. I have heard that charges have been made that the issue of Assam’s independence was raised in the public meeting organised by Forum Against Citizenship Amendment Bill and Left Democratic Mancha in Guwahati on January 7.
“Actually when some speakers out of provocation said that the demand of Independent Assam is now relevant, I in response to that had explained that this issue of independence could arise only if and when all other democratic avenues for fulfilling Assam’s legitimate demands are exhausted and the Indian state and other political organisations reject these democratic demands,” he said.
Gohain said he had to stand up thrice during the course of meeting to “set things right. “These people, instead of lodging a case should applaud me,” he said.
“This is a desperate measure by a cornered government,” said Gohain.
He said government had to act against him under pressure from the RSS. “Some RSS men put pressure on the government to act against me and the others. And that is why the police had to file an FIR,” Gohain said.
Former Assam DGP Harekrishna Deka, who was present at the meeting, said registering sedition case against Gohain is a desperate act and misuse of the provision of law.
“A complaint registered by police against Dr Hiren Gohain invokes the law of sedition. This is a desperate act and misuse of the provision of law.
Sedition is dealt in section 124-A of the Indian Penal Code and it is as follows:
“Section 124-A in the Indian Penal Code, named ‘Sedition’, explains sedition in wide and magnanimous terms
It says ‘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’ shall be punished with life imprisonment
“The explanations which the IPC gives are that ‘the expression ‘disaffection’ includes disloyalty and all feelings of hate. It also says that comments that express strong disapproval of ‘the measures of the Government, with a view to obtain their desired modifications by lawful means, without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offense under this section.”
“According to the section 124-A, comments expressing strong disapproval of the ‘administrative or other action of the Government without exciting or attempting to excite hatred, contempt or disaffection, do not constitute an offense under this section, ” Deka said in a facebook post.
Hiren Gohain’s speech has been recorded and it is clear that it does not even remotely attract the provisions of section 124-A, he said.