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Leader kept in police guest house

Guwahati, March 3: If it was a forest guest house for Sahara chief Subrata Roy in police custody, it is a police guesthouse for arrested KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi.

Like Roy, now at the guest house inside Kukrail reserve forest on Lucknow’s outskirts, Akhil is at the guest house of the 4th Assam police battalion here at Kahilipara foothills. He was remanded in four days’ police custody last evening in the February 24 self-immolation case.

The police today submitted a petition in the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Kamrup (metro), Dipankar Bora, intimating that the guest house has been converted into a camp police station for Akhil’s detention in police custody. The police filed the petition through public prosecutor Ziaul Kamar.

Akhil was arrested yesterday on charges of abetting the self-immolation of a man during a protest against alleged discrimination in distribution of land deeds to the landless here on February 24.

A police officer, requesting anonymity, said the guest house was chosen to detain Akhil since it is located within the highly fortified campus of the battalion headquarters.

Since Akhil’s arrest had triggered statewide protests, with scattered incidents of violence, the police are apprehensive that if he is kept in a police station, protesters may lay siege and create law and order problems.

The police also want to keep the accused away from the media while in custody.

“Outdoor broadcasting vans of various news channels and media personnel would have been stationed outside the police station, which could have created problems in entry and exit of policemen as well as common people visiting the police station. Therefore, for convenience of all, it was decided to keep Akhil at the guesthouse,” the source said.

Akhil’s counsel Bijon Mahajan filed an application in the CJM’s court stating that despite having the court’s permission, the police last night denied Akhil’s family to serve home-cooked food to his client.

The public prosecutor informed the court that because of delay in the police receiving the court order, there was confusion last night but from today home-cooked food would be allowed.

Akhil’s wife Gitashree Tamuly appeared before the additional CJM, B. Sutradhar, this evening and recorded her statement in connection with her complaint petition filed yesterday alleging police torture and harassment when Akhil was picked up from his residence in the wee hours yesterday.

She had lodged the complaint with the court yesterday, after which a case was filed and she was asked to record her statement before the additional CJM, who has been entrusted to dispose of the case, today.

The court today examined her statement and said further inquiry is necessary and directing her to produce other witnesses before the court on March 12.