BY SYED ALI MUJTABA
Guwahati: The bail of 19-year-old, Barshashree Buragohain under UAPA on July 20 from Gawhati jail, rekindles hope for many Muslim CAA protesters who are languishing in jail for the last two years on similar charges.
The reason for Ms. Barshashree’s arrest happens to be a poem that she wrote and posted on Facebook. The title of the poem which is in Assamese says ‘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 an anti-nation poem by the BJP government in Assam and the BSc student majoring in mathematics, at the DCB Girls College in Jorhat Jorhat, Barshashree 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 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 organization and declares the intent of waging war against the Indian state, we are legally bound to prosecute that person. Following due process, the charge sheet shall be filed in the competent court of law. Let the law take its own.”
In the FIR, there was no mention of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent, but said that this was an implicit endorsement of the ULFA-I, a banned military organization, and pointed towards a larger “criminal conspiracy” and “intent to wage war against the Indian government”, the FIR said.
Her arrest has triggered widespread criticism across the state, with student bodies, opposition parties, and intellectuals demanding her early release. Many on social media have raised their concerns about the student potentially missing out on her second-semester exams which are scheduled to be held from July 16. Buragohain was granted permission from the court to appear in her degree exam which was held on July 16. She appeared for the examination under tight security arrangements.
There is a long list of Muslims who are languishing in Jail for the past two years and some 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 rekindles 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 years in jail if they are put in prolonged captivity, no judge, no officer no country will return them back their missing years.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org