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Akhil custody sparks unrest

- Complaint lodged with rights panel over arrest timing

Guwahati, March 3: Protests over the arrest of Akhil Gogoi and five other KMSS members in the February 24 self-immolation case continued to rage in Assam for the second day today, while police expedited investigation into the case.

At least 200 protesters were arrested from different parts of Sivasagar district when they resorted to a jail bharo andolan outside Sonari, Mathurpur, Sapekhati, Moranhat and Borhat police stations demanding Akhil’s release.

The protests were also held at Bokota Nemuguri in Sivasagar district, Borpathar, Bokakhat, Merapani, Uriamghat, Jamuguri and Golaghat in Golaghat district, Jorhat and Tinkhong and Bhadoi in Tinsukia district.

The day also saw Dulal Bora, a city-based contractor, lodge a complaint against senior superintendent of police (city), Anand Prakash Tiwari, with the Assam Human Rights Commission, complaining against Akhil’s arrest and five others while they were asleep.

He also complained about the police allegedly misbehaving with their family members and physically assaulting a few others during the raid.

Tiwari, however, dismissed the allegations of misconduct. “Whatever we did, we did according to the law,” he told The Telegraph.

Tiwari said they were looking for three other accused in connection with the case.

Police, in a pre-dawn raid yesterday, had arrested Akhil, Deben Sarma, Ibrahim Ali, Nazrul Islam, Hareswar Kalita and Gajen Baishya.

The six have been charged with abetting Boro’s self-immolation and were remanded in four days’ police custody yesterday.

Forensic officials in Guwahati today collected samples, including an empty plastic bottle that had contained a liquid and a gamosa from the Tata Nano (AS01-AW2011), in which the police believe Pranab Boro had reached the Assam secretariat here before immolating himself.

The police had seized the car from Lichubagan here soon after they arrested the general secretary of the Kamrup district unit of the KMSS, Deben Sarma.

Sources in city police today said the investigation so far has revealed that three men, including Boro, had driven the car belonging to Nagen Doloi, a resident of Baghorbari.

The police, however, did not reveal the names of the two other men, who they believe were inside the car with Boro.

“They (suspected to be KMSS members) had borrowed Doloi’s car around 9am and Boro and two others got into it. Doloi is not a KMSS member but a supporter. Boro was drunk. They poured petrol on him and as soon they reached Dispur, Boro got down before the fire was lit. But it is still not clear if Boro himself lit the fire or the person sitting beside him did so,” a police source said.

The police said they were analysing the call details of the arrested KMSS leaders, including Akhil, to find out if they had talked to those who were in the car. Doley was also quizzed but police refused to divulge any details.

Bedanta Laskar, the joint general secretary of the KMSS, claimed that at least four activists of the Chah Mazdoor Mukti Sangram Samiti were injured in a lathicharge by the police when they raised slogans outside the venue of chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s election rally at Dipling in Sivasagar district, demanding Akhil’s release.

At a public meeting at Dipling, nearly 60km from Sivasagar in Charaideo subdivision, the police stopped members of the Chah Mazdoor Mukti Sangram Samiti from entering the venue.

“The protesters were stopped by the police nearly 200 metres from the venue and resorted to a lathicharge. The injured have been admitted to Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh,” Laskar said.

After Hailakandi yesterday, KMSS members from neighbouring Cachar district in Barak valley also staged a protest this morning at Shalganga, around 25km from the town and blocked National Highway 54, also known as airport road, seeking Akhil’s release.

The police tried to negotiate with the protesters but failed. They arrested 30 people and took them to nearby Udharbond police station.

They were released around 1pm, Udharbond police station officer in-charge Shyam Babu Sinha said.

Around 35 students of Gauhati University, including members of KMSS’s student wing — Chatra Mukti Sangram Samiti — were detained when they staged a demonstration in front of the Jalukbari police outpost demanding the release of Akhil and the five others.

“We want their immediate release,” Dibyashnata Talukdar, a student of the university, told The Telegraph.

Additional reporting by Kongkon K. Bora and Touhid Raja Choudhury


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