[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Gauhati High Court has granted anticipatory bail to nine persons – most of them Bengal-origin Muslim poets and activists – against whom the Assam police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) for writing in the Miyadialect on the state’s contentious citizenship issue.
The FIR alleged that a Miyapoem written by one Kazi Neil @ Kazi Sarowar Hussain and translated in English by Salim M. Hussain had gone viral on social media and had sought to project the people of Assam as xenophobic. The poem, according to the FIR, posed a threat to the security of the nation in general and Assam in particular. It was also alleged that the poem was likely to create communal violence in the state.
The said literary work as quoted in the FIR reads as follows-
“Write down I am a Miya
My serial number in the NRC is 20,543
I have two children
Another is coming next summer
Will you hate him as you hate me
Write, write down I am a Miya
A citizen of a democratic secular republic without any rights.
My mother is a D-voter.
Though her parents are Indian.
Write, write I am a Miya of the Brahmaputra
Your torture has burnt my body black
Reddened my eyes with fire
Write I am a Miya”
“The land that makes my father an alien
That kills my brother with bullets
My sister with gang-rape
The land where my mother stokes in heart live burning coals.”
Hearing the anticipatory bail application on July 17, 2019, Justice Mir Alfaz Ali observed, “the averment made in the FIR appears to be nothing more than a personal understanding, analysis and perception of the informant (complainant) regarding the aforementioned literary works (poem).
The FIR was registered under sections 120(B)/153(A)/295(A)/188 IPC read with section 66 of the IT Act.
The High Court further noted that custodial interrogation of the poets was not necessary for the investigation and that this appeared to be a fit case for extending the benefit of pre-arrest bail to them.
In the event of their arrest in connection with the FIR, the court ordered that the poets be released on bail of Rs 20,000 each with a suitable surety of like amount to the satisfaction of the arresting authority.
The pre-arrest bail would be subject to the following terms and conditions, Justice Ali ordered:
- The petitioners/accused shall co-operate with the investigation.
- The petitioners/accused shall not directly or indirectly, make any inducement, threat or promise to any person acquainted with the facts of the case so as to dissuade him from disclosing such facts to the court or to any police officer.