Barshashree Buragohain

Assamese poet Barshashree Buragohain was arrested in May 2022 for writing a poem that she posted on Facebook.


The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party led by current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been strategically targeting Indian activists and journalists, specifically those critical of the Indian government, since it took power in 2014. The state uses laws like the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) to detain people, many of whom are student activists, without a formal charge or trial.

Activists and human rights advocates have expressed grave concerns over the immense crackdown on free speech in India, according to Wired. Specifically, the UAPA is a tool to silence and remove voices of dissent — especially Kashmiri, Muslim, Dalit, and Adivasi voices of dissent — without the need for evidence. In May 2022, some UN experts spoke out about how many aspects of the UAPA oppose international human rights law and standards.

Life and Activism

In May 2022, 19-year-old Barshashree Buragohain was arrested by Assamese police and charged under the UAPA, according to The Wire. The arrest occurred during a time when the Assam state government was cracking down on citizen dissent on social media. The state had accused her of committing an “act of rebellion against the nation” and working with the United Liberation Front of Asom (UFLA). The police claimed that the intention of her poem was to encourage young people to join UFLA.

Charges and Allegations

Barshashree Buragohain was charged under the UAPA. In the FIR, it was claimed that her poem was “an implicit endorsement of ULFA-I,” in turn an expression of an “intent to wage war against the Indian government.”

Current Status

Granted bail 

Last Update

Barshashree Buragohain was granted bail in July 2022, two months after her arrest, according to The Wire.

More Prisoners

Rajinder Singh Taggar

Life and Activism Taggar runs the Punjab Dastavez and was charged for extortion, criminal conspiracy and wrongful restraint, according to reporting by The Indian Express....

Hemant Soren

Background Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in relation to a money laundering case. Prior to his arrest, he resigned as the state’s...

Surju Tekam

Background Surju Tekam is the leader of the Bastar Jan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti and the Vice President of the Sarva Adivasi Samaj, a collective of...

Arvind Kejriwal

Background According to reporting by Al Jazeera, Kejriwal’s government is accused of receiving kickbacks while distributing liquor licenses to private companies. The Enforcement Directorate (ED),...