Barak Human Rights Protection Committee(BHRPC), a human rights group working mainly in southern part of Assam known as Barak Valley, is deeply concerned at the arrest of Lachit Bordoloi, Advisor to the Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), Pradeep Gogoi, the Duliajan correspondent of NETV, Nekibur Zaman, Advocate, Gauhati High Court and Suman Dutta, an employee of Air Deccan. We fear for their safety. It is disturbing that Borodoloi, Dutta and Gogoi have been remanded to 5-6 day police custody by the Sub Divisional judicial magistrate, Kamrup. Nekibur Zaman is in hospital with a leg injury.
The police are accusing them of being involved in a plot of hijacking a flight. But long before Lachit`s arrest it was known that the Assam government had decided to detain him. On the 9th of February the police had come to his house and without giving a seizure list confiscated some CDs andhis computer from his residence.
BHRPC wants to remind that this is not the first time that Lachit Bordoloi has been picked up, having been arrested under TADA while it was in operation and on other occasions. Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti, of which he is the advisor, too has also been at the receiving end of a state onslaught, with its offices being routinely ransacked, and activists threatened.
It is to be noted that Lachit Bordoloi was part of the People`s Consultative Group set up in 2005 to initiate discussion between the Government of India and United Liberation Front of Assam. His arrest is another indication of the hard line that the government is adopting towards those who seek to occupy the middle ground. It is also yet another instance, in now linking Lachit to ULFA, of how the pernicious Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004 is being used to choke human rights activity. MASS has over the years been strongly opposing army atrocities, encounters, disappearances in Assam, and together with many other organizations demanding the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act,1958 (AFSPA). Coming as it does within a few months of the arrest of Dr. Binayak Sen, Vice-President of PUCL, his arrest is clearly part of a concerted strategy, on the part of the state, to silence all democratic dissent and criticism of state policies, especially in conflict areas.
1. The immediate and unconditional release of Lachit Bordoloi, Pradeep Gogoi, Suman Dutta and Nekibur Zaman;
2. The total repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958;
3. The repeal of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2004, and
4. The end to any attempts by the government to muzzle the human rights of the people including the right to freedom of the Press and dissent.
The statement is issued by Neharul Ahmed Mazumder,
Barak Human Rights Protection Committee,