Published: Updated – 12:22 PM, Sunday – 30 October 22
Guwahati: Barshashree Buragohain (19), a university student in Assam, can probably explain better than anyone how social media posting can be a nightmare.
Barshashree conducts B.Sc. from Devi Charan Baruah Girls College in Jorhat.
Like other boys and girls of her age, Barshashree was also a Facebook fan. She loved to write and comment a lot without realizing that one day the social media would make her life dark.
May 18 this year was a dark day for Barsashree.
A few days ago, she posted a poem on Facebook in Assamese: “One more step towards the sun of freedom. Again, I will commit treason.
Although the poem written by Barshashree did not directly mention terrorism, the FIR against her noted that the poem was in direct support of the banned extremist organization United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent ( ULFA-I), and pointed to a larger “criminal conspiracy” and “intention to wage war against the Government of India”.
Buragohain was arrested on May 18 and sent to judicial custody. The teenager was booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
After her arrest, various people from different parts of Assam voiced their support for the university student, demanding her release, as her family insisted that the song was not provocative at all.
However, the police were not satisfied with such stories.
Special DGP Singh defended the arrest and went on to say that when a person openly admits to supporting a banned organization and declares his intention to wage war against an Indian state, the police are legally bound to charge him. charge that person.
But criticism began against the state government and the police, forcing Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to intervene in the Barshashree case.
Defending the police action, Sarma said at the time, “The girl was prevented from destroying herself. It should be remembered that 42 people were sentenced to death in the ULFA-I camp a few days ago, which the group’s leader Paresh Baruah may not even know about.”
Sarma added, “The girl has repented for her actions while her family members have also assured her that they will take care of her so that she will not be involved in such activities in future.”
After the intervention of the Commander-in-Chief, the police did not object to the bail plea and the 19-year-old was released on bail.
However, it took almost two months and Barshashree spent more than 60 days in jail.
When Barshashree was released from prison, she said that she had learned a lot, and that she might not use social media in her lifetime.
Interestingly, Barshashree isn’t the only person who has faced trouble on social media.
A 22-year-old youth from Amguri in Sivsagar district was also in jail for more than three months after allegedly posting a comment on Facebook in support of ULFA-I.
Bitupan Changmai spoke about Barshashree’s controversial poem.
Changmai was arrested from his home on May 19 and produced before the Sivasagar district court the next day. He was booked under Sections 120B/121/121A of the IPC and the Serious Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was also slapped.
He was lodged in Sivsagar district jail after the magistrate sent him to judicial custody.
While in prison, Changmai missed job interviews he applied for. His family members strongly urged the state government to release him so that he can have a normal life.
More than three months later, Changmai was granted bail by a district court in Savasagar.
Maina Chutia, 23, was also arrested after allegedly commenting on a Facebook post, addressed to ULFA-I.
Maina is a talented young wushu player and boxer from Moranhat area. Maina, who has represented Assam in several tournaments, has been in jail for over a month and a half.
A comment she posted on Facebook came under the scanner of the police cyber cell and a team from Moranhat police station went to the athlete’s house and arrested her on June 17.
After his release from prison, Maina said: “It was hard to spend so many days in prison, but I learned a few good things there.”
Recently, a young man from Silchar was arrested by the police after he posted an emoji on the Facebook page of a BJP MLA.
The list of such cases has been increasing in Assam in recent times.