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Gauhati High Court Grants Bail to Student Charged Under UAPA for Facebook Post

"She's not a member of ULFA-I, has no desire to be a part of it. We are glad she's coming back," said her brother.

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Video Input: Anjana Dutta

Video Editor: Mamta

The Gauhati High Court, on Thursday, 21 July, granted bail to 19-year-old Barshashree Buragohain, a BSc student from Jorhat in Assam, two months after her arrest over a Facebook post allegedly "in support of banned outfit ULFA-I."

Buragohain was arrested 64 days ago and has been charged under sections 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), for writing a poem on Facebook that was allegedly in support of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I). The post, however, made no mention of the outfit.

Her elder brother, Arindom told The Quint on Thursday,

"We are awaiting her return home. It has been 64 days since she's been away. This is the longest she has been away from home. She rarely spent time outside. Everyone at home is happy that she is coming back. We were all worried."
Barshashree's brother Arindom

He added that she is not a member of ULFA-I, nor does she have any desire to be.

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Her lawyer told The Indian Express, “We argued that she had just made a Facebook post and she was not connected to a banned organisation in any way.” She has been granted bail against a bail bond of Rs 25,000.

Buragohain was, however, released subject to the following conditions:

  • That she will abstain from committing similar offences to the one she has been accused of.

  • That she will cooperate with the Investigating Officer as and when required.

  • That she will not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case.

What Was the Post About?

The post, in Assamese, read: “One more step toward the sun of freedom, Once again, I will commit treason.” According to the First Information Report (FIR), the lines written by the student “were an implicit endorsement of the ULFA-I” and pointed toward a larger “criminal conspiracy” and “intent to wage war against the Indian government."

As reported by PTI, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma earlier said that she was not arrested for writing a poem. He said, “If she had not been arrested, she would have gone to the ULFA(I). How can we allow her to do so? If she goes to the ULFA(I), she will return as a human bomb and kill us.”

‘She Was Worried About Missing Her Exams’

Buragohain, whose parents are daily wagers, has always been a meritorious and serious student, said her brother. He added, “Whenever we went to see her in jail, she would frequently ask us if she would be able to sit for her exams. Now that she has been granted bail, she will be able to take the exams.”

She has been lodged in the Golaghat District Jail for the last two months. The Mathematics (Honours) student is appearing for her second-semester examinations. The sessions court at Golaghat had allowed Buragohain to appear for her semester exam – which began on 16 July, under strict police scrutiny. The court had asked authorities to make the required arrangements.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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