Assam: Girl arrested for writing 'anti-national' poem gets bail

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Guwahati, Jul 21, 2022, IANS

A college student in Assam, Barshashree Buragohain, who was arrested and jailed for writing a poem allegedly in support of the banned outfit United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I), was granted bail on Thursday by the Gauhati high court.

She was arrested on May 18, and later sent to judicial custody. The 19-year-old was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Preventions) Act.

The poem written by Barshashree had no direct reference to the terror outfit, however, the FIR against her mentioned that the poem 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".

Many echoed their support in favour of the release of the college student, while the family claimed that the poem was not a provocative one.

Assam Special DGP G.P. Singh 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."

He went on to say: "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."

Sarma also said that the police would not oppose Barshashree's bail petition.

The 19-year-old is a student of B.Sc. in Jorhat's DCB Girls College.