Last month almost 1200 jail inmates went on a hunger strike in Assam’s Guwahati Central Jail demanding the release of peasant leader Akhil Gogoi. According to a report in the Assamese daily Aamar Asom, the inmates resorted to hunger strike on June 25 and June 26 demanding the implementation of eight pleas, including Gogoi’s release from the Guwahati Jail. According to sources, one among other political prisoners who organised the protest inside the jail was JNU scholar Sharjeel Imam who remains to be inside the same prison for his involvement in anti-CAA protests.
Here are five components of the story :
- According to sources inside the jail, Sharjeel played a role in organising the protest along with other inmates demanding the release of peasant leader Akhil Gogoi along with the following demands.
1. Stop fresh enrolment of inmates without necessary COVID-related measures like swab testing and quarantine.
2. Allow visitors, particularly the lawyers and family members, to meet the inmates following Covid-19 guideline.
3. Increase the scheduled 2min of conversation time with the relatives and lawyers to at least 10min.
4. Supply clean drinking water round the clock
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5. Improve the quality of food and to provide adequate health facilities
6. Release peasant leader Akhil Gogoi and other undertrials as appealed by UNHRC on 26 June & due under all established human rights norms.
- Gogoi, the founder of the popular grassroots organisation Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), has completed a jail term of 200 days on June 29 along with youth leaders associated with KMSS. These young leaders were at the forefront of the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests that broke out in the state in early December.
- The inmates’ demands also included quarantining new inmates brought to the jail before they were allowed to occupy the cells with the existing inmates.
- Gogoi was joined in the strike by all prominent inmates, including some top leaders of armed groups United People’s Front and United Liberation Front of Asom.
- Inspector general of prisons, Dasarath Das, claimed to Time8 website that the inmates withdrew the strike “on June 25”. Das said it was after they “negotiated and agreed to recommend the demands to the state government for early consideration”.