Three weeks after Kokrajhar-based journalist Jaikhlong Brahma was arrested on charges of having links with an armed insurgent group, Amnesty International India has asked the Assam government to release him from administrative detention and guarantee him a fair trial meeting international standards.
While Brahma was arrested on September 2 in connection with Kokrajhar PS Case No 367/2014, under Sections 120(B), 121, 121(A), 122 and 109 of the IPC, read with Sections 10(B), 13(B) and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2008, a week later he was detained uner the National Security Act (NSA). These Sections cover various criminal offences including multiple counts of conspiracy, being a member of an “unlawful association” and “inciting unlawful activities”.
Expressing concern over Brahma’s detention under the NSA, Amnesty International India, in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday said the journalist now runs a risk of being detained for 12 months without charge or trial. “The use of administrative detentions under the National Security Act, 1980 or any other legislation must end and all legislation that facilitates the use of administrative detention should be repealed,” said Shailesh Rai, Programs Director at Amnesty International India.
The NSA detention order states that Jaikhlong Brahma “has been indulging in various types of violent activities with secessionist aims”. It also states that he maintained “personal link with the [outlawed] NDFB(S) [National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit faction)],” provoked and abetted the NDFB(S) to commit killings and arson, and accepted money from the group in exchange for producing and broadcasting video reports about it.
Jaikhlong Brahma is the Kokrajhar bureau head of NewsLive, a Guwahati-based private satellite TV news channel which is owned by the wife of a former influential minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The TV news channel however has maintained that the allegations were baseless, false and fabricated, and intended at covering up police failure.
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