Assam Court Acquits Student Arrested Under UAPA for Writing Poem on Facebook

In 2022, the BJP government under Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam had claimed that a poem that Barshashree Buragohain had uploaded on Facebook was 'a call for young people to join ULFA (Independent).'

New Delhi: A lower court in Assam has acquitted young Assamese poet Barshashree Buragohain of all charges filed by the state police under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.

The court’s order, issued on March 18, vindicates her stand against the state police’ accusation that she had committed an ‘act of rebellion against the nation’ in cahoots with the anti-talks faction of United Liberation Front of Asom, ULFA (Independent).

In May 2022, the BJP-led state government – continuing its crackdown on citizens expressing dissent on social media – had arrested the 19-year-old student for writing a poem on Facebook. The ruling dispensation claimed it was a call for young people to join ULFA.

The arrest of Barshashree, who was studying mathematics at DCB college in Jorhat district, had shocked the state and appeals were made by members of public to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to release her. Sarma, however, also accused her of trying to get people to join the banned armed outfit. “How are we going to let her do that? She will return as a human bomb and kill us if she goes to ULFA (I),” he had said.

The FIR filed against her accused her of writing lines in the poem that “were an implicit endorsement of ULFA -I”, thus expressing her “intent to wage war against the Indian government “.

Two months after her arrest, in an effort to sit for her college exams, Barshashree moved the sessions court in Golaghat district. The court had decided in her favour, thus enabling her to sit for the exams that started on July 16, 2022.

Following her acquittal by the Golaghat sessions court from all charges on March 18, her brother, Arindom Burhagohain told India TodayNE, “We got justice, truth prevailed at last.”

Barshashree Buragohain has been out on bail since July 22, 2022.