Family Requests Release of Assam Student Jailed Over Alleged Pro-ULFA Post
Barshashree Buragohain was arrested for allegedly penning a poem in support of the ULFA.
The family of Barshashree Buragohain, a college student from Assam who was arrested two months ago for allegedly penning a poem in support of the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I), has appealed to the Assam government for her release in order to let her appear for her examination.
“Her exams are scheduled for 16 July and she is very keen on sitting for them,” Barshashree's brother told The Indian Express.
Barshashree is a second-year student of Mathematics and has been charged under Sections 10 and 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) over a post updated on her Facebook profile on 17 May.
Her brother told The Indian Express that the student was "suddenly arrested" from Golaghat on 18 May and is lodged in the Golaghat district jail.
'Intent To Wage War Against the Indian Government'
“I do not know what she wrote exactly but she keeps writing on Facebook. But we know that she is not connected to any anti-national group or the ULFA. My father is a daily wager, we are going through a very hard time,” he said.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), the lines written by Barshashree "were an implicit endorsement of the ULFA-I" and pointed towards a larger “criminal conspiracy” and “intent to wage war against the Indian government.”
The lines of the poem cited in the FIR are ‘Swadhin xurujor dixe akou ekhuj, Akou korim rashta druh’ (One more step towards the independent sun, we will continue to be seditious).
The FIR also stated that Barshashree had “accepted” that she had written the post.
Assam Police Special DGP (law and order) G P Singh, in response to calls for her release, said that "due procedure was being followed."
Singh highlighted the phrase "akou korim rastro druh" (we will continue to be seditious) and claimed that Buragohain had given a "specific call to indulge in waging war."
“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, a charge sheet shall be filed in a competent court of law. Let the law take its own course,” the police officer told The Indian Express.
'ULFA-I' Not Used in Post
Barshashree's counsel, A Dihingia, told The Indian Express that the word “ULFA-I” was not used anywhere in the post. “The post has been linked to the outfit because it mentioned ‘independent sun’ — which is the symbol of the ULFA-I,” he said.
Several Opposition leaders have also demanded the release of the student. Congress MP Abdul Khaleque tweeted in support of Barshashree. "I demand the release of Barsha Shree," he wrote.
Another Congress MP, Pradyut Bordoloi wrote that she "has never said or done anything that falls into the realm of terrorism or can be described as anti-Indian."
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)
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