Two days after three persons were killed in police firing on violent anti-eviction demonstrators near the Chief Ministers office here,the police on Friday arrested the leader of the group that held the demonstration.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi has been slapped with charges under as many 10 different sections of the IPC.
The Kamrup (Metro) district administration had earlier filed an FIR in the Dispur police station against Gogoi,accusing him of organising unlawful gathering,attacking policemen on duty,setting public vehicles on fire,destroying public property and so on.
Gogoi,also an RTI activist,was arrested while he was addressing a press conference at the Guwahati Press Club in the afternoon in connection with Wednesdays demonstration and police firing. Those killed in the firing included a nine-year-old child. Over 20 vehicles,including three government-owned city buses,were damaged in the violence.
Gogoi and his KMSS had on Wednesday organised a demonstration near the state secretariat to protest against an eviction drive launched by the government to free reserved forests (hills) and wetlands in the city from encroachers. Over four lakh people are said to be encroaching on 18 reserved forests and three wetlands including a Ramsar Site within Guwahati city.
Gogois arrest triggered statewide protests,with his group blocking highways in different districts. Opposition leaders,including former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of AGP and Guwahati MP Bijoya Chakravarty of the BJP condemned the arrest.
The Assam government had only on Thursday announced that it would continue to remain firm against encroachers while a Committee headed by a former minister would look into the scope of granting land pattas to those eligible under the prevalent laws. An inquiry committee headed by an additional chief secretary on the other hand has been constituted to probe into Wednesdays incidents.