Guwahati: Manas Konwar, a prominent leader of Chatra Mukti Sangram Samiti, the student wing of the peasants' rights organization Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), has finally been given bail against a surety of Rs. 30,000, said Krishna Gogoi, Konwar's legal counsel.
"If the Assam Government cannot come up with any new charges against Konwar, he will be out of the jail later today", Krishna Gogoi informed. Konwar also informed The Sentinel Digital that the bail hearing of KMSS Chief Akhil Gogoi, currently battling the COVID-19, has been scheduled for July 16. "The bail hearing of Gogoi's fellow activists Bitu Sonowal and Dhaijya Konwaron will be held tomorrow", Krishna Gogoi further informed us.
In the midst of the protests to repeal the C(A)A that sought to fastrack Indian citizenship to minorities from neighboring countries, Manas Konwar was arrested on December 13, 2019, released later and re-arrested from the NIA Court, Guwahati, towards the end of January 2020.
The development has come to the fore amid raging protests across Assam demanding the release of Gogoi and his fellow activists who were arrested for their involvement in the anti Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests at the turn of the year. After initial protests in Assam and beyond for the release of Gogoi, concern turned towards his health after it was reported that Gogoi was plagued by sickness in the jail. A series of tests conducted at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) confirmed that the peasant icon is afflicted with stomach ulcers and kidney stones.
Akhil Gogoi, Bitu Sonowal, and Dhaijya Konwar have all been infected with the COVID-19 at the Guwahati Central Jail and have been shifted to the GMCH for their treatment. While Sonowal and Konwar tested positive on July 9, Gogoi's test report came positive days later on Saturday, June 11 -- amid much speculation about the peasant leader's health condition.
After the KMSS leaders' COVID-19 positive status came to light, their movement demanding their release has again picked up steam. For instance, demanding the immediate release of Akhil Gogoi and his KMSS brethren, several youths in Digboi's Balijan came together and staged a semi-nude demonstration on a bridge along the Digboi-Duliajan road. Likewise, a host of intellectuals have also demanded the release of the activists, claiming that they are being held on "bogus charges."