NIA Cites Writing ‘Lal Salaam on FB’ to Justify UAPA on Activist
Bittu Sonowal, a close aide of Akhil Gogoi, was arrested earlier this year under various charges of UAPA.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), in its chargesheet against Assam’s student leader Bittu Sonowal, mentioned that he had referred to his friends as ‘Comrades’ and written ‘Lal Salaam’ on Facebook. The chargesheet, filed on 29 May, also mentions Sonowal uploaded one photo of Lenin with the words, “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them”.
Sonowal, a close aide of Assam’s peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, were taken into custody by the NIA earlier this year along with two other top men of Gogoi on various charges of the UAPA.
Gogoi was arrested in December last year when Assam witnessed huge protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). He was charged under Sections 120B, 253A, 153B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 18 and 39 of UAPA.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a peasants’ body to which Gogoi is the advisor, alleged that the 40-page charge-sheet was trying to brand the ogranisation’s leaders as “maoists” but contained no concrete evidence to prove the allegations.
KMSS President Bhasco Saikia told Outlook, “The NIA wants to establish that Akhil Gogoi is a maoist but they couldn’t give any concrete evidence. They also mentioned about the books on Maoism. The NIA had seized books like ‘An Introduction to Socialism’ and ‘Communist Manifesto’ among others.”
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