Akhil Gogoi

Human rights activist Akhil Gogoi was arrested on December 12, 2019 in a case related to protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian activists and journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. The state uses laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) to detain people, many of whom are student activists, without a formal charge or trial.

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired. Specifically, the UAPA is a tool to silence and remove voices of dissent — especially Kashmiri, Muslim, Dalit, and Adivasi voices of dissent — without the need for evidence. In May 2022, some UN experts spoke out about how many aspects of the UAPA oppose international human rights law and standards. Many activists were booked under the UAPA following the 2019-2020 protests against the highly discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Life and Activism

Akhil Gogoi, a human rights defender and a Right to Information (RTI) activist, was arrested on December 12, 2019. According to reporting by The Wire, Gogoi was arrested as a “preventative measure” during the CAA protests, which resulted in violence in Assam and throughout India. Gogoi is also president of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity, which works with indigenous communities in Assam to protect their land rights. Gogoi and others were accused by the NIA of acting as overground workers of the Communist Party of India, according to the Asian Centre for Human Rights’ report titled “India’s UAPA: Jail, not bail, is the rule.”

Even though Gogoi was granted bail on March 17, 2020, he was never released from prison and was re-arrested after a case was filed against him under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code. This section in specific is a non-bailable section, according to Frontline Defenders. While in prison, Gogoi and others contracted COVID-19 and tested positive on July 9, 2020. Gogoi’s blea plea was rejected by the Guwahati High Court on January 7, 2021. Gogoi was only freed from prison on July 1, 2021, after the National Investigation Agency cleared him of all charges filed under the UAPA.

Charges and Allegations

Gogoi was charged under Section 120B (criminal conspiracy), 124A (sedition), 153 A (hate speech) and 153 B (imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and under sections 18 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, that relate to conspiracy and support given to a terrorist organization, according to Frontline Defenders.

Current Status

Granted bail

Last Update

Gogoi was released from prison on July 1, 2021, about 18 months after his arrest.

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