Medha Patkar condemns midnight arrest of Assam firebrand Tarun Gogoi

The National Association of People’s Movements, headed by Medha Patkar, has condemned the midnight arrest of firebrand Assamese leader Akhil Gogoi and said it supports the street protest against the move.

On 2nd March, 2014, Akhil Gogoi, one of the leading figures of the KMSS, was picked up from his residence in early hours of the morning, on charges of inciting Sri Pranab Boro to self-immolation.

Gogoi’s Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) has been spearheading a peasant’s struggle in Assam raising issues of land grab, displacement and corruption. The organization had been one of the first to associate itself with the India Against Corruption movement, which led to the birth of the Aam Aadmi Party. Medha Patkar recently joined the Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal.

“Though the National Alliance of people’s Movements (NAPM), mourns the death of Sri Pranab Boro, it condemns the Government’s attempt to malign the name of the KMSS in this tragic loss of life,” NAPM said in a statement.

NAPM pointed out that media reports have quoted Boro’s wife as having said that Akhil Gogoi is innocent and not responsible for her husband’s death.

“It is clear that the Government angered at the KMSS’s protesting Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Assam, has taken this drastic step to not only put down the land struggle but also crush the growing land rights struggle being spearheaded by the KMSS,” the association alleged.

“We the people’s movements from across the country stand in solidarity with the KMSS and Akhil Gogoi in this difficult time and hope that the land struggle and the KMSS will come out stronger after this test of their organisation. Thousands of supporters and activists of the KMSS have come out on the street in protest, we stand right with them in spirit and wish them strength,” it added.

NAPM is an umbrella organization of various NGOs working for the upliftment of sections of the Indian society.