I’ve Fought for India at Great Risk: Dr Gohain on Sedition Charges

Senior journalist Manjit Mahanta and KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi have also been charged with sedition.

Updated
India
2 min read
File photo of Sahitya Akademi awardee Dr Hiren Gohain.
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“I cannot imagine, for my life, why these charges have been held against me,” Sahitya Akademi awardee, 80-year-old Assamese litterateur Dr Hiren Gohain told The Quint.

On Thursday, 10 January, PTI reported that sedition charges have been brought against Dr Gohain, senior journalist Manjit Mahanta and KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi in Assam, as protests continue against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar reportedly told PTI that the police suo motu registered a case at the Latasil police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code – including 124(A) that deals with charges of sedition and 120 (B) that deals with criminal conspiracy.

“A case has been registered against them. I am investigating what they spoke during a Nagarik Samaj meeting here on 7 January.”
Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar

Clarifying that he has not received any notice so far, even though he has heard from “very reliable sources” about the charges, Dr Gohain said, “They (government authorities) put under the rubric of sedition anything they dislike, anything they fear.”

“And they are quite afraid of the movement against the bill to amend the citizenship act,” he added.

The 80-year-old litterateur also said:

“I have always been fighting, at great risk, for the integrity of the country, and for the democratic rights and liberties of the people. If this is sedition, then let it be so.”

Speaking about what occurred at the meeting, Dr Gohain said:

“When some passionate young men said that if this is the way the government looks at things, we will be forced to think of swadheenata, they meant freedom – which you can interpret in any way. ‘Swadheenata’ doesn’t necessarily mean secession, but you know, it can be interpreted in any way…”   

Dr Gohain, further, asserted that their (Gogoi, Mahanata and his) fight was only for the people of India and the secular and federal qualities of the Constitution.

“He (Akhil Gogoi) briefly spoke about the question of “swadheenata” in our lives. I thought he might be misinterpreted so I stood up and clarified. I said we are fighting for India, and for the secular character of the Indian Constitution and the importance of the federal quality of the Constitution.”   

Dr Gohain claims his worlds have been “twisted” in order for a case to be made up against him.

Gogoi, Mahanata and Dr Gohain are part of a civil society group – 'Nagarik Samaj' – which is protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Dr Gohain told The Quint that, in his opinion, “this bill is a new conspiracy by them (the BJP) to scuttle the NRC. If this bill is passed, NRC is meaningless.” He also added that the people of Assam “are dead against it (the bill)!” Another Sahitya Akademi awardee Nagen Saikia reportedly told Times Now that he may not agree with Dr Gohain on various issues “but what he thinks is right he says it with courage.”

Saikia also reportedly said:

“Ignoring the people of Assam against the bill, the central government is trying to stoke thoughts of secession in the minds of people.”

(With inputs from PTI, Times Now.)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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