India: Assam Police registers sedition charge against Hiren Gohain
January 11, 2019, 10:33 am
Assam Police has filed a case of sedition against scholar Hiren Gohain, rights activist Manjit Mahanta and RTI activist Akhil Gogoi regarding speeches made by them against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, informed sources said on Thursday.
The meeting where they spoke was held in Guwahati on January 7.
Although the police refused to name anyone, it is learnt that they are looking at the speeches made by Gohain, Mahanta and Gogoi, the sources said.
January 7 was observed as a “black day” by different organisations in Assam to denounce the Bill which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to six minority groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The move has triggered a wave of protests in the northeast.
Gohain was reported to have said that if the government did not pay heed to the demands of civil society groups against the Bill, it could trigger demands for sovereignty or an independent Assam.
Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar said a case has been registered against some speakers at the meeting “as there are reports that the speakers had made some statements which needs to be investigated.
“A case has been registered under sections 120B/121/123/124A (sedition) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code).”
The police chief refused to name anyone against whom the case has been registered and said it had been filed against the speakers.
“I came to know that a case of sedition has been registered against me. The speech I delivered did not appear in the media in full. Only some distorted lines of my speech were published in the media,” said Gohain.
Meanwhile, the police move has drawn widespread flak.
“By registering sedition case against Gohain, the government has misused its power. It is sheer misuse of power. One cannot stop the movement against the Bill by slapping a sedition case,” said All Assam Students Union (AASU) Adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya.