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[BREAKING] Blockades Without Incitement To Violence Not 'Terrorist Act' Under UAPA : NIA Court Discharges Akhil Gogoi

Nupur Thapliyal
1 July 2021 10:27 AM GMT
[BREAKING] Blockades Without Incitement To Violence Not Terrorist Act Under UAPA : NIA Court Discharges Akhil Gogoi
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"Protests in a democracy are sometimes seen to take the form of blockades also, even causing inconvenience to citizens. However, it is doubtful whether such blockades for temporary periods, if unaccompanied by any incitement to violence, would constitute a terrorist act within the meaning of Section 15 of the UA (P) Act"

A Special NIA Court today in Gauhati has discharged Raijor Dal Chief, Akhil Gogoi of all charges in the Chandmari case involving UAPA, sedition and other offences under the Indian Penal Code.Special NIA Judge Pranjal Das ordered thus:"..from his speeches available on record, Sri Akhil Gogoi (A-1) cannot be imputed with any incitement to violence. There are also no materials to link A-1...

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A Special NIA Court today in Gauhati has discharged Raijor Dal Chief, Akhil Gogoi of all charges in the Chandmari case involving UAPA, sedition and other offences under the Indian Penal Code.

Special NIA Judge Pranjal Das ordered thus:

"..from his speeches available on record, Sri Akhil Gogoi (A-1) cannot be imputed with any incitement to violence. There are also no materials to link A-1 with vandalism and damage to property that took place during the said CAA protest due to such agitations led by various organizations."

Furthermore, the judge observed:

"Protests in a democracy are sometimes seen to take the form of blockades also, even causing inconvenience to citizens. However, it is doubtful whether such blockades for temporary periods, if unaccompanied by any incitement to violence, would constitute a terrorist act within the meaning of Section 15 of the UA (P) Act. That in my mind, is beyond the intention of the legislature. There can be other laws to address that."

Consequently, the Court also discharged other co accused persons namely Dhirjya Konwar, Manas Konwar and Bittu Sonowal.

The allegations against Akhil Gogoi were that he had allegedly conspired to incite hatred and disaffection towards the Government established by law, using the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) as a pretext and that they also promoted enmity amongst different groups of people.

"In this context, it might be also relevant to mention herein that there are no materials whatsoever, about Sri Akhil Gogoi (A-1) making any imputations prejudicial to unity and integrity of India or national integration." The Court said.

Furthermore, it was also observed that "Only on the basis of the statements of some of the witnesses about A-1 speaking about blockade and closure, it cannot be said that there are prima facie materials to indicate that such talk of blockade was with an intention to threaten the economic security of India so as to constitute an offence of advocating commission of a terrorist act. That would not be a correct prima facie deduction, for the purpose of framing charge."

Recently, the same judge had discharged Akhil Gogoi in the Chabua case involving UAPA.

"In view of the materials on record as discussed above, I am of the considered opinion that the omissions and commissions of A- 1 revealed by the materials cannot be prima-facie said to be a terrorist act done with the intention of threatening unity, integrity, sovereignty and security of India or a terrorist act done with the intention to strike terror in the people. Therefore, from the aforesaid deduction, I am of the considered view that it cannot be said that there are no sufficient materials prima-facie for framing charge against the accused A-1 Sri Akhil Gogoi u/s 16 of the UA (P) Act, 1967." the judge had observed.

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