Akhil Gogoi

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Akhil Gogoi
Akhil Gogoi by Vikramjit Kakati.jpg
Gogoi in 2017
Member of Assam Legislative Assembly
Assumed office
21 May 2021
Preceded byPranab Gogoi
ConstituencySibsagar
Founder - President of Raijor Dal
Assumed office
2 October 2020
Preceded byPost Established
NationalityIndian
OccupationMember of Assam Legislative Assembly
OrganisationKrishak Mukti Sangram Samiti
India Against Corruption
Known for2011–12 Indian anti-corruption movement,
Right to Information,
Anti CAA Protests of 2019 in Assam
Political partyRaijor Dal, Gana Mukti Sangram Asom
MovementIndian anti-corruption movement
Spouse(s)Geetashree Tamuly
Children1

Akhil Gogoi is an Indian peasant leader, RTI activist and MLA from Sibsagar, Assam. Over the years he has been leading many anti-graft movements in the state. Gogoi came to national attention after he was awarded the Shanmugam Manjunath Integrity Award in 2008 for his relentless fight against corruption.[1] In 2010, he was awarded the national Right to Information Award by Public Cause Research Foundation for his role in exposing a Rs. 12.5 million scam in Sampoorna Gram Rozgar Yojna in the Golaghat district of Assam.[2] Gogoi is the founder Secretary of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS)- a left wing peasant organisation based in Assam.

Personal life[edit]

Akhil was born to Boluram and Priyada Gogoi.[3][4] He attended the Cotton College, Guwahati during 1993–1996, where he studied English literature. He served as the general secretary and magazine secretary of the college students union. Soon he joined the United Revolutionary Movement Council of Assam (URMCA), a mass organisation of CPI-ML-PCC under the leadership of communist leader Santosh Rana.[3][5] However, by the end of the 1990s he broke with Rana and devoted himself as an editor of Natun Padatik, an independent Marxist journal published in Assamese, along with Hiren Gohain. Gogoi is married to Geetashree Tamuly, with whom he has a son Nachiketa.[4]

Anti Big-Dam and Land Reclamation Campaign[edit]

From mid-2009, Gogoi had led a statewide movement against construction of big dams in the ecologically sensitive regions of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. His organisation KMSS demanded immediate halt to the ongoing construction of the dam of Lower Subansiri, a mega hydroelectric power project under NHPC with an estimated capacity of 2000 MW.[6] In December 2011, huge number of anti-big dam protestors led by Gogoi stopped trucks transporting parts of turbines to the Lower Subansiri Hydro-electric Power Project site in Gerukamukh, Lakhimpur district, thereby significantly slowing down the process of construction of the dam for the next many years. The dam is still not complete.[7] In 2014 Gogoi initiated a campaign against land mafia in Assam, who had appropriated thousand of acres of agricultural land in rural Kamrup district, adjoining Guwahati city, from poor farmers. The matter is currently under investigation.[citation needed]

Campaign against corruption[edit]

For some time, he was also associated with Anna Hazare led anti-graft campaign India against Corruption. However, he broke with IAC after some of the members decided to form a political party. Explaining his reasons to resign from IAC, Gogoi said that the support IAC had received was only for building up a strong and sustained mass movement against rampant corruption, and not floating an election centred political party.[8]

Peasant cooperatives[edit]

In 2013, Gogoi and his comrades in KMSS established a number of provisional retail outlets in different parts of Guwahati city to facilitate direct access of rural peasantry with urban markets. Claiming it as an alternative to FDI in Retail as well as mafia-run-syndicates, Gogoi and his organisation expressed their plans to open more outlets in the city on a permanent basis. These outlets will be run by the peasants themselves and will sell agrarian products on a drastically lower price, removing the middleman in between. On the very first day of the opening of the outlets, more than hundred quintals of vegetables were reported to be sold within a few hours.[9]

Maoist controversy and imprisonment[edit]

In April 2010, a secret report of the Assam government alleged that Akhil Gogoi had close connections with CPI-Maoist.[10] Gogoi challenged the report and dared the Assam government to prove the allegation.[11] Intellectuals across the country including Magsaysay Award Winner Sandeep Pandey and Medha Patkar condemned the government for trying to implicate the activist.[12] In an interview with NDTV, Akhil Gogoi said, "I am a Marxist and I do believe in social transformation. But I am not a Maoist. They don't believe in mass activities. We at KMSS are trying to organise the masses for radical change. But the attempt of the government to implicate me as a Maoist shows their frustration because they have been unable to contain the growing popularity of KMSS".[13][14] It created an embarrassment for the Assam government and the matter was dropped thereafter. The same allegation was again raised in 2019, this time by the BJP led government of Assam, in the context of the Citizenship Amendment Act Protests being led by Mr Gogoi. Akhil Gogoi was arrested on 12 December 2019.[15] Two UAPA cases were slapped on Akhil Gogoi and the National Investigation Agency was entrusted with the investigation. NIA alleged that the Citizenship Amendment Act Protests in the state reeks of a Maoist conspiracy and it is likely that Mr Gogoi received training from the CPI-Maoist, in leading such a militant mass movement. On 1 July 2021, the NIA Court absolved Akhil Gogoi of all charges and quashed both the UAPA Cases after an incarceration of 567 days.[16]

Electoral politics[edit]

From prison, Akhil Gogoi launched his own political outfit Raijor Dal on 2 October 2020. Akhil Gogoi won from[17] the Sivasagar constituency in the Assam Assembly Elections 2021. He received 57219 votes out of the total of 124219 votes defeating nearest candidate Surabhi Rajkonwari of BJP by a margin of 11,875 votes.[18] He became the first Assamese person to get a victory in assembly elections from jail without any campaigning.[19]

Works for the Assamese culture and nature[edit]

The Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park is the largest orchid garden in India located in Assam. It was launched by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), headed by Gogoi.[20] The orchid park consists of a green house, photo gallery, medicinal herbal plant garden, product outlet corner, fruit garden, flower garden, rock garden, rice museum, fish pond, a nature walk and a special place for practising folk culture.[21]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Forest Land and Peasant Struggles in Assam 2002–2007 by Arupjyoti Saikia[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Akhil Gogoi receives award from Kiron Bedi". Assam Times. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  2. ^ TI Trade (29 November 2009). "The Assam Tribune Online". Assamtribune.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Akhil Gogoi(Independent(IND)):Constituency- SIBSAGAR(SIVASAGAR) - Affidavit Information of Candidate". myneta.info. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Assam's 'Cylinder Candidate' Akhil Gogoi, who could be a worry for both Congress and BJP". ThePrint. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  5. ^ Upmanyu, Kabir (15 September 2017). "Activist for Many Causes: Akhil Gogoi Now Arrested for Sedition". TheQuint. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Who is Akhil Gogoi? : North, News – India Today". Indiatoday.intoday.in. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Protestors block transport of turbines for hydel project". @businessline. Press Trust of India. 2 December 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  8. ^ Sushanta Talukdar (5 August 2012). "News / National : Akhil Gogoi opposes Team Anna's decision". The Hindu. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Akhil gives ray of hope to Assam farmers". Assam News. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Anti-corruption activist a 'Maoist' in Assam report". Indian Express. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Assam govt brands RTI activist as Maoist – India News – IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 6 April 2010. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  12. ^ "India's Independent Weekly News Magazine". Tehelka. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  13. ^ "News " Videos". NDTV. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  14. ^ ndtv (31 March 2011). "Akhil Gogoi under scanner". YouTube. Archived from the original on 15 December 2021. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  15. ^ PTI (12 December 2019). "Peasant leader Akhil Gogoi arrested in Assam's Jorhat". India Today. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  16. ^ The Telegraph (2 July 2021). "CAA Protest Case - Akhil Gogoi Cleared". The Telegraph. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  17. ^ "Akhil Gogoi: A peasant leader who won ballots from behind the bar". The News Mill. 3 May 2021. Archived from the original on 3 May 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  18. ^ ECI. "GENERAL ELECTION TO VIDHAN SABHA TRENDS & RESULT MAY-2021".
  19. ^ "Assam election results: Anti-CAA activist Akhil Gogoi first in state to win polls from jail". The New Indian Express. PTI. 3 May 2021. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  20. ^ Ago, Nihardxin #nature • 4 Years (29 January 2018). "Kaziranga National Orchid and Biodiversity Park". Steemit. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Kaziranga National Orchid Park". TripAdvisor. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  22. ^ Saikia, Arupjyoti (2008). "Forest land and peasant struggles in Assam, 2002–2007". Journal of Peasant Studies. 35 (1): 39–59. doi:10.1080/03066150801983402. S2CID 153929473.