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The Hindu
The Hindu

Gauhati HC grants bail to 19-year-old student, two months after arrest for poem backing ULFA (I)

The Gauhati High Court on Thursday granted bail to the 19-year old woman, who was arrested two months ago for allegedly writing a poem on social media in support of banned outfit ULFA (I).

Justice Ajit Borthakur granted bail to Barshashree Buragohain, who is currently housed in the Golaghat Central Jail, after the state's lawyer refrained from opposing her application.

The judge directed that she be released on bail against one surety of ₹25,000.

Buragohain, was arrested on May 18 from Uriamghat in Golaghat for allegedly writing a post titled 'Akou Korim Rashtra Droh' (will rebel against the nation again).

She had earlier prayed for bail before the District and Sessions Court, Golaghat, which rejected her application.

Her lawyer, Ritupallab Saikia, told PTI that she was likely to be released from jail on Friday after completion of necessary formalities.

Buragohain, a BSc. second year Maths student of Jorhat's DCB College, had also filed a plea requesting that the Golaghat court allow her to appear for her semester examinations which began on July 16.

The court had granted her permission to appear for her semester examination with necessary police escort and precautionary measures.

It directed that arrangements be made in the “proper venue on each and every date as per the programme of the examination by providing necessary police escort party and by taking precautionary measures”.

The 19-year-old had, however, been writing her papers from jail, with the district administration appointing a magistrate as an invigilator.

She filed another petition against the principal of the college who apparently had requested the district deputy commissioner’s to make the arrangements.

The Golaghat court then directed that 19-year-old should appear for her examination, in accordance with the guidelines of Dibrugarh University, and the deputy commissioner cannot interfere in the process, her lawyer said.

The court also issued a show-cause notice to the principal and directed her to furnish her reply by July 25 when the case comes up for hearing again.

Buragohain was arrested on the basis of a complaint filed by police constable Pankaj Saikia alleging that she posted objectionable statements on Facebook which indicates that she is “engaged in criminal conspiracy and intends to wage a war against the nation”.

The FIR stated that she has also expressed the intent to join the banned ULFA(I) to bolster the confidence of its cadres which amounts to a “threat to the country's sovereignty”.

A resident of Teok in Jorhat district, Buragohain was arrested from Uriamghat where she had gone to visit a friend.

Her arrest under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) had led to widespread protests and demands for her release with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma saying that if her parents or anybody take the responsibility and see to it that she did not join the ULFA(I), she would be released.

He maintained that she was arrested for her statement to join the banned ULFA(I) and not for writing a poem that she could appear for her exams or interviews.

Mr. Sarma said that she was a daughter of the state and "we do not want her to die at the hands of the ULFA (I). We are trying to save her and counselling is going on".

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