Jailed Assam peasant leader and founder of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) Akhil Gogoi tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday. He will be treated at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH).
His former KMSS colleague and Congress leader Kamal Kumar Medhi has heavily criticised the Assam government alleging that it has been ignoring Gogoi's health. "We suspected politics is going on and now it has been proved. Today, jail authority said in court that Akhil tested negative but now it is being said that his report is positive."
Targeting the Assam health minister, Medhi said, "Himanta Biswa Sarma is not saying a single line on his health. Some said his samples were sent to Delhi too. Why is this positive-negative drama taking place? We knew he was corona positive and his health needed serious attention. If BJP govt is thinking that they can push him to death like this, then they are wrong. The people of Assam know all this and they won't allow anything wrong to happen to Akhil."
Earlier this week, two of Gogoi's arrested associates had tested positive for Covid-19 and were first admitted to the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH) on Wednesday night and then were shifted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in the morning. All three activists were lodged at the central jail in Guwahati where an inmate was found positive last month. The test result of another KMSS activist held in the same jail is also awaited.
Gogoi is facing a legal tangle that has denied him bail or interim relief and he has spent almost 200 days behind bars after participating in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Reports of his deteriorating health have sparked off campaigns on social media demanding his release. Several people and opposition leaders have slammed the "injustice" towards the peasant leader and accused the government of being vindictive because of his anti-CAA, anti-dam protests.
Gogoi's wife Gitashree Tamuly, who is a college teacher, recently expressed her angst in a Facebook post. “It’s been a few months. There is no TV in the house. A lot of things stay without knowing. Just saw this on Facebook. Akhil is sick, symptoms of Covid. Don’t know what to say. Many people call and ask me if brother is okay? But what do I know? This time there is no news, no phone calls,” she wrote.