Women journalists who reported mosque vandalism in Tripura arrestedtext_fields
Agartala: Two Delhi-based journalists were detained on Sunday by the Assam Police at the request of the Tripura Police, following a complaint by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) that they were "maligning" the image of the state government and the outfit.
The journalists, Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha were detained while on their way to Silchar and booked by the Tripura Police under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace). The duo was reporting on recent instances of alleged religious vandalism in the state.
A statement by Tripura police on Sunday said the two journalists had come to Tripura on Thursday, and a case has been filed against them in the Kakraban Police Station (in southern Tripura's Gomati district) on Sunday under various sections of the IPC for "creation of hatred between communities by fabricating, concealing of record etc. in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy as revealed from the Twitter posts by Samriddhi Sakunia".
"Taking cue from the recent state of violence at Amravati and other parts of Maharastra as a repercussion of the communal incident, it has become clear that some vested interests are trying to flare up the communal incident in Tripura.
"The investigating officer felt it wise to lodge a suo-moto complaint about creating hatred between religious groups by false fabrication, concealing documents etc.," said the statement.
It said the police asked the two journalists to share the documents visible in their videos but instead of coming to Agartala, the two reporters made an escape towards Assam.
They were also found involved in spreading communal hatred at Paul Bazaar in North Tripura district and another case was also registered against them at the Fatikroy police station under various sections of the IPC, the statement said.
They were served with notices under section Cr.PC and supposed to appear before the investigation agency by November 21 according to their convenience, it added.
Sakunia and Jha reportedly work for HW News Network.
There have been reports of communal clashes in Tripura in response to anti-Hindu violence during Durga puja in Bangladesh. The reports even triggered violence in Maharashtra. The journalists' detention comes amid an increased crackdown on media reporting in recent years.
The media house in a statement, criticising the Tripura police and questioning the procedure of the arrest of the two journalists, said: "This is sheer harassment and targeting of the press on the part of Tripura police and Tripura government to suppress us from reporting the facts of the case."
The Editor's Guild of India has condemned the police action against the two and demanded their immediate release and restoration of their freedom to travel.