Agnipath: Assam police detains Left-wing activists before protest: CPI(M)

Guwahati, Jun 20 (PTI) The Assam unit of the CPI(M) claimed that leaders of the party and various other Left-wing organisations such as SFI and DYFI were detained by the police across the state to thwart protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme on Monday.

The opposition party also alleged that it has received a legal notice from the police to withdraw an Assam bandh though it has not given any such call.

The SFI, DYFI and the All Assam Krishak Sabha (AAKS) had called for protests against the Agnipath scheme today. The SFI’s state general secretary Nirankush Nath, AAKS’ senior leader Tiken Das and the CPI(M)’s state leader Nayan Bhuyan were detained at Tinsukia, Jorhat and Kokrajhar respectively on Sunday, CPI(M) state general secretary Suprakash Talukdar said.

Some others were able to evade the police dragnet, Talukdar told a press conference here.

He said supporters of SFI, DYFI and AAKS staged protests against the Agnipath scheme in Guwahati city and Nagaon, Jorhat and Barpeta districts.

In many places such as Guwahati and Kalgochia in Barpeta district, protestors were arrested, he claimed.

The CPI(M) has not given any call for any protest or bandh in the state, and yet, this morning we received a legal notice from the Panbazar police station here asking us to withdraw the bandh. It warned us of action if we do not oblige, he said.

The police do not even know which organisation has called for protests, the CPI(M) leader asserted.

It makes a mockery of the state’s Home department and its intelligence wings, he said.

Demanding that the notice be withdrawn immediately, Talukdar said that the CPI(M) wanted to know on what basis the notice was issued to it.

He claimed that notices with similar wordings were issued to different SFI, DYFI and AAKS district units by the police, asking them to withdraw their programmes.

In some instances, local leaders were called by the police and warned verbally, he claimed.

It is a political step taken by the Home department to stop peaceful, democratic agitations, the CPI(M) leader said.

According to him, in the legal notice served by Karimganj police to the district DYFI president, it was claimed that calling protest programmes has been declared illegal and unconstitutional by various judgements’ of the Supreme Court and Kerala and Gauhati high courts.

The judgements were in respect of bandhs, not peaceful protests. The police are trying to distort the verdicts and should be pulled up for contempt of court. The government cannot take away the people’s right to protest peacefully, Talukdar said.

Efforts to reach police officers on the issue went in vain.