GUWAHATI: The Gauhati high court, while rejecting the bail plea of peasant leader Akhil Gogoi on Thursday, upheld the verdict of a special NIA court and ruled that the anti-CAA protests in the state led by him in 2019 were not in line of non-violent “satyagraha” but “squarely falls within the definition of terrorist act as defined in in Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.”
A division bench comprising Justice Kalyan Rai Surana and Justice Ajit Bathakur in its order stated, “By use of violence, the appellant (Akhil)-led mob had brushed aside the noble concept of non-violent protest, which is popularly known as satyagraha and that such conduct of paralyzing the government machinery, causing economic blockade, causing enmity between groups, disruption of public peace an widespread disharmony and dissatisfaction towards the government, are acts which are prejudicial/for national integration and such acts squarely falls within the definition of “terrorist act” as defined in section 15 of the UA(P) Act.”
The bench said it does not find any infirmity in the finding returned by the special judge (NIA) that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation of commission of offences punishable under chapters IV and VI of UA(P) Act against the appellant is prima face true. Chapters IV and VI of UAPA deals with punishment for terrorist activities and terrorist organizations.
Akhil was first arrested by Assam Police on December 12, 2019 as a preventive measure while protests against the then Citizenship Amendment Bill in the state raged and resulted in violence at several places and the case was transferred to NIA two days later.