At a time when the entire State of Assam has immersed itself in merrymaking with Uruka feasting galore across the State as part of Magh Bihu festivities on Wednesday night, a group of Raijor Dal leaders in Assam’s Jorhat were sitting on a 24-hour hunger strike.

These Raijor Dal leaders forsook Uruka feasting and launched a 24-hour hunger strike in front of the District Court seeking justice and release of the party’s jailed president Akhil Gogoi.

Akhil Gogoi was arrested in Jorhat on December 12, 2019 when the anti-CAA protests were at its peak in the State.

The hunger strike began at noon on Wednesday.

The Gauhati High Court had last week rejected the bail plea of Akhil Gogoi, in connection with a case registered against him under Sections 120B, 124A, 153B IPC and Sections 18 (Punishment for conspiracy, etc.) and 39 (Offence relating to support given to a terrorist organisation.) of the UA(P) Act.

The bail plea was rejected by the High Court on the grounds that “the peasant leader had brushed aside the noble path of Satyagraha to incite mob violence”.

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Meanwhile, the Raijor Dal is mulling to move the Supreme Court seeking Akhil Gogoi‘s freedom.

“Our leader has been languishing in jail for the past 13 months without any valid reason. Our forsaking of the Uruka feast is in empathy with our leader who has been suffering in jail for such a long period and was denied bail,” a member of Raijor Dal said.

Recently floated party – Raijor Dal has further threatened to intensify its agitation if Akhil Gogoi is not released soon.

Notably, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had recently said that Akhil Gogoi was arrested by the NIA for his links with the Maoist and not due to his role in the anti-CAA protests.

“The NIA has got evidence of his links with the CPI (Maoist). Based on it, the agency has continued with its investigation,” Sarma had said.

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Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com