Jailed legislator Akhil Gogoi, granted parole for two days by an NIA court, left for Jorhat on Saturday to meet his ailing mother after spending a night with his wife and son. After being granted parole on Friday afternoon, Gogoi stepped out of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for various ailments, late in the night.
He spent the night at his rented residence in Guwahati with his wife and son who has recently recovered from COVID-19. "I could not sleep at all. My son is very sad and disturbed. I spent the entire night with him," Gogoi told reporters outside his residence before leaving for Jorhat, over 300 kms from Guwahati.
"I cannot take him with me as I am going in a police escort," said the Independent MLA from Sivasagar who scripted history by becoming the first jailed leader in Assam to win an assembly election.
NIA special judge Pranjal Das, after hearing a petition filed by Gogoi's lawyers requesting permission for him to visit his family members in Guwahati and Jorhat, and the people of Sivasagar, granted him parole for 48 hours, which he could take according to his convenience.
The court allowed Gogoi to visit only his ailing mother in Jorhat and his son in Guwahati, but forbade him from meeting the people of his constituency due to the prevailing pandemic situation. Released after 19 months in jail, the Raijor Dal president said the economic hardships the people are facing due to lockdowns also played on his mind last night.
"Everyone should stop indulging in gimmicks and work to revive our economy. Everyone should pinch themselves and ask how they and others are managing to survive in this difficult situation," he said
The government should provide monetary help to all families without a fixed salary for the next three-six months as the failure to provide financial succour now could spell disaster for the economy later, he added.
Gogoi said he will spend Saturday night with his mother at their village home in the Jorhat district. He said that though he had asked permission to also visit his constituency Sivasagar but the court did not allow it.
"With folded hands, I thank the people of Sivasagar. You have elected me from behind bars and created history. I hope I can be free soon and serve you," he said. Gogoi, who was allowed to attend the legislative assembly only for a day to take oath as an MLA during its three-day session in May, said that he would raise the problems of his constituency in the forthcoming Budget session and work to get Sivasagar, the capital of the erstwhile Ahom dynasty, declared a historic town.
On a personal front, Gogoi said that he was happy to share with all that his wife Geetashree Tamuly, a lecturer at a college here, was awarded PhD by IIT-Guwahati two days back. "I came home to this piece of good news. The fact that she could complete her PhD in such difficult and troubled times makes me very happy," he said.
Gogoi was arrested on December 12, 2019, from Jorhat at the peak of the anti-CAA protests in the state as a "preventive measure" in view of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. He was later handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA) for his alleged role in the violent protests and their possible links with Maoist elements.