Barshashree Buragohain’s poem, Will again Rebel Against the Nation, was construed as anti-national by the BJP government in Assam and the B. Sc. student was kept in judicial custody in Golaghat for two months till she got bail from the Guwahati High Court on July 20.
Syed Ali Mujtaba
GUWAHATI — Barshashree Buragohain, 19, charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), was released on bail from Guwahati jail on July 20. Her bail rekindled the hope for many Muslim CAA protesters languishing in jail for the last two years.
The reason given for Ms Barshashree’s arrest was a poem that she wrote and posted on Facebook. The title of the poem which is in Assamese is ‘Akou Korim Rashtra Droh’ (Will again rebel against the nation). The full line is: “Swadhin xurujor dixe akou ekhuj, Akou korim rashta druh” (One more step toward the sun of freedom, once again, I will commit treason).
This poem was construed as antinational by the BJP government in Assam and the B. Sc. student majoring in mathematics, at the DCB Girls College in Jorhat Jorhat, was kept in judicial custody in Golaghat for two months till she got bail from the Guwahati High Court on July 20.
While many defended Buragohain’s creative impulses and her family asserted that the poem was not provocative, Assam Special Director General of Police (law and order) GP Singh tweeted that she was arrested as there was a “specific call to indulge in waging war against the state” in her Facebook post.
He said, “When someone publicly professes support for a banned organisation and declares the intent of waging war against the Indian state, we are legally bound to prosecute that person. Following due process, the chargesheet shall be filed in the competent court of law. Let the law take its own course.”
Ironically, the FIR filed against her makes no mention of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent, the outfit she is purported to have been associated with. However, it assumed that it was an implicit endorsement of the ULFA-I, a banned military organisation, and pointed towards a larger “criminal conspiracy” and “intent to wage war against the Indian government”, the FIR said.
Her arrest triggered widespread denunciation in the state, with student bodies, opposition parties, and intellectuals demanding her immediate release. Many on social media raised their concerns about the student potentially missing out on her second-semester exams scheduled to be held from July 16. Buragohain was granted permission from the court to appear in her degree exam under tight security arrangements.
There is a long list of Muslims who are languishing in jail for the past two years and prominent among them are Sharjeel Imam, Meeran Haider Taahir Hussain, Ishrat Jahan, Khalid Saifi, Meeran Haider, Shifa-ur-Rahman Siddique Kappan, etc.
The bail granted to Ms. Barshashree Buragohain and Mr. Mohmmad Zubair of Alt News rekindled the hope that those behind the bars of factious seditious charges may soon be out of prison.
These youth are at the prime of their age and it would be wasted in jail if they are put in prolonged captivity. No judge, no officer, no country will return their missing years.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org