A teenage girl from Assam, who was arrested and jailed for writing a poem allegedly supporting the banned United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I), was granted bail on July 21 by the Gauhati high court.
Barshashree Buragohain, a BSc student from Jorhat, was arrested on May 18 and later sent to judicial custody for her poem which was seen as supporting the ULFA-I. She was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act (UAPA).
While the poem written by Barshashree Buragohain had no direct reference to the terror outfit, the FIR against her mentioned that the poem was an implicit endorsement of the ULFA-I and pointed towards a larger “criminal conspiracy” and “intent to wage war against the Indian government”.
The arrest and the subsequent jail of the 19-year-old student, was opposed by many individuals and organizations who claimed that the poem was not a “provocative” one.
Assam special DGP GP Singh had defended her arrest, and said: “When someone publicly professes support for a banned organisation and declares the intent of waging war against the state of India, we are legally bound to prosecute that person.”
Following criticism from a large section, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently said: “Barshashree was given protection from destroying her life. One must remember 42 people have been given death sentence in ULFA-I camp a few days ago, which may not be even known to the outfit leader Paresh Baruah.”
“The girl was repenting for her action and the family has also assured that they will take care so that she should not indulge in such type of activities in future,” he added.
Sarma also said that the police would not oppose Barshashree Buragohain’s bail petition.