Sharjeel Imam Organised Two-Day Hunger Strike for Akhil Gogoi in Assam Jail

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Sharjeel Imam.

Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Over a thousand inmates went on a two-day fast in the last week of June in protest for the release of Akhil Gogoi, an Assamese peasant leader who shot to national fame in December last year during the protests against the controversial Citizenship (amendment) Act (CAA). The hunger strike was held on June 25 and 26 at the instance of Sharjeel Imam, another incarcerated anti-CAA activist and a Ph. D student of student.

A report appearing in the website Karvaan India said that the initiated by incarcerated JNU activists who now face sedition cases for advocating a roadblock protests in Assam to pressurise the government to revoke the CAA believed to be discriminatory against Muslims. Imam was in the forefront of the agitation in the jail.

The inmates went on the hunger strike seeking acceptance of their eight demands including freedom of Gogoi, who heads the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS). Gogoi remained incarcerated since mid-December last year. Members of ULFA, a militant organiation of Assam, particpated in the strike.

The inmates complained that the new entrants of the jail are not put under quarantine thus risking the health of inmates amidst the scare of coronavirus. Several rights groups have asked the government to release prisoners on parole until the threat of the pandemic recedes.

According to Time8 website, the prison authorities said that the strike ended after the authorities assured the inmates that they would recommend their demands to the government in a negotiated settlement.

Inspector general of prison, Assam Dasarath Das told Time8, “The hunger strike was withdrawn on Thursday evening. We have negotiated and agreed to recommend the demands to the state government for early consideration.”

(The story has updated. The earlier version wrongly attributed the role of Sharjeel imam in initiang the protest protest to Assamese daily Aamar Asom.)

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