Two women journalists in Tripura have been named in an FIR on the basis of a complaint made by a supporter of the right-wing group Vishva Hindu Parishad, according to several media reports.
The journalists have now been detained, as per NDTV.
The Delhi-based journalists- Sammriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha - alleged that the cops came to their hotel early this morning and "intimidated" them; they said they were covering the recent incidents of violence in the state.
Tripura Police have registered a number of cases against two female journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha and detained them for publishing & broadcasting falseand fabricated news aimed at disrupting communal harmony, said IG (Law and Order) of Tripura police, Arindam Nath.
As per an official statement by HW News Network, the journalists were on their way to Silchar when Assam Police detained them.
— HW News English (@HWNewsEnglish) November 14, 2021
The journalists have been accused of "promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion" under Section 153-A and "being a part of criminal conspiracy" under the Section 120 (B) of the IPC in the complaint filed by Kanchan Das. Sakunia tweeted, "We have been detained at the Nilambazar police station, Karimganj, Assam. We were informed by the officer in-charge of Nilambazar PS that SP of Gomti District gave the orders for our detention."
FIR🚨 in #Tripura@Jha_Swarnaa and I, the correspondent at @hwnewsnetwork have been booked under 3 sections of IPC at the Fatikroy police station, Tripura. VHP filed complaint against me and @Jha_Swarnaa FIR has been filed under the section: 120(B), 153(A)/ 504. Copy of FIR pic.twitter.com/a8XGC2Wjc5 — Samriddhi K Sakunia (@Samriddhi0809) November 14, 2021
The Editors Guild of India has demanded the immediate release of the two journalists.
The officer said that a few videos posted by the journalists on social media had claimed that a prayer hall was burnt in Gomati district and a copy of the Quaran was damaged. The videos are suspected to have been “doctored”, he added, reported Indian Express.
In a tweet on November 11, Sakunia had written, “#Tripuraviolence Darga Bazaar: On 19th October at around 2:30 am, some unidentified people burnt down the mosque in Darga Bazaar area. People in the neighborhood are very upset with the fact that now they don’t have any place nearby to go and pray There’s no other masjid nearby.”
She also posted the video claiming that the prayer hall was burnt and a copy of the Quaran was damaged.
“Many people claimed the Quran was burnt during the acts of vandalism. We didn’t find any such evidence in the last 20 days. Investigation suggests that the video may have been doctored. We want to be sure if this was done in connivance with anyone or not. Therefore, the journalists have been detained,” the cop said.
He also said that Sakunia and Jha were asked to “hold talks” with the police in Agartala before leaving via Maharaja Bir Bikram (MBB) Airport as per their travel plan. However, the journalists reportedly changed their plans and travelled via Assam, where they were detained. “They were supposed to talk to us at Agartala before leaving. Instead, they preferred to go towards Silchar without informing us,” the police said.
As per NDTV, a police officer said, "Based on an FIR, we today went to meet the journalists who were staying in a hotel in Dharmanagar sub-division of Tripura's north district. We took their permission and spoke with them which for basic information. We served them a notice. They requested us to give some time so then they can appear with their lawyer. The permission was given. I believe they have already left.
Last week, Tripura police had asked Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to provide details of more than hundred accounts from which reportedly fake, provocative posts were made. Over a dozen criminal cases have been filed and action has been taken against 70 people including Supreme Court lawyers, activists, and religious campaigners, NDTV reported.