Guwahati: Two Assam activists were arrested by the Azara Police on Wednesday after they returned from the Kisan March in New Delhi on Republic Day. According to Azara Police officials, the accused have been arrested for violating COVID-19 protocol after landing at the Guwahati Airport.
In a press release, the Azara Police stated that Jayanta Gogoi (56) and Dinesh Das (54) landed at the airport along with a few others around 8 pm on Wednesday. Police officials said the accused came out forcefully without COVID testing and obstructed officials on COVID duty. “The accused have been charged under Disaster Management Act, 2005,” a police official from Azara Police Station said.
Gogoi is the secretary of Assam Chapter of the All India Kisan Sabha, while Das is a cultural activist. Along with 11 others, the group reached New Delhi on January 25 ahead of the protest by farmers. According to Krishna Gogoi, the lawyer representing Gogoi and Das, this is a typical case of harassment under COVID protocol. “The rest of the team, who belong to other districts of Assam, were allowed to travel while Gogoi and Das stayed back. Initially, there were no officials present when the flight landed in the airport,” said Gogoi.
According to Soneshwar Narah, a political activist from Assam, the group representing Assam demanded the release of farmer leader Akhil Gogoi along with demands for the rollback of farm laws. Jeepal Krishak Sramik Sangha, a farmers’ rights organisation based in Upper Assam, condemned the arrests. “It has become a routine activity of Assam police to harass activists who have been protesting against the contentious farm laws and human rights abuse in the country,” said Pranab Doley, an activist working closely with the organisation.
Since late November, more than 100,000 people have been protesting against the contentious farm laws passed by the Narendra Modi government.