The Full Story | Tripura Violence | Two Women Journalists Detained In Assam

by GoNews Desk 2 years ago Views 5659

Tripura Violence Journalists Netizens Booked Under
UPDATE: The two women journalists booked by Tripura police for "spreading communal disharmony" have been granted bail. They were working with HW news network. 

Two women journalists who were travelling to cover the Tripura violence on-ground were detained by Tripura police on Sunday. The journalists have alleged that they were taken into custody without being shown a copy of the FIR against them, and that the police took them 100 km from Assam where they were detained to Tripura, without showing them any documentation.

The journalists, Samriddhi Sukunia and Swarna Jha, have said that the police entered their hotel room on Sunday morning to “Intimidate” them, after which they told the personnel that they intended to cover the reports of communal violence in Tripura.

The scribes have been charged with Section 153A “promoting enmity between communities” and 120B “partaking in criminal conspiracy” of the Indian Penal Code.

The MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) dismissed reports of the drstruction fo a mosque in Gomati district of Tripura even as there were reports of violence from Amravati and surrounding areas from Maharashtra over the alleged anti-Muslim violence in Tripura.

On Friday, a bandh called and observed predominantly by Muslim communities after which another bandh on Saturday was called. It was during the Saturday shutdown that there were reports of property destruction and stone pelting. The crowds prominently featured saffron flags as well.

In a Twitter thread, Samriddhi had said that she had spoken to locals about the destruction of a mosque and also shared the copy of the Fir registered against her. The scribe is being questioned for “fake news circulation” by the police as well. The MEA had rejected reports of a mosque being destroyed in Tripura with forceful words saying that reports of a mosque being destroyed in the Kakaraban area of Gomati district of Tripura were ‘fake news’ and a “complete misrepresentation of facts”.

Journalists’ Detention Widely Opposed

Press bodies, social activists, and politicians have come out to condemn the arrest of the two journalists. The Editor’s Guild if India (EGI) criticized the police’s act of booking 102 social media users and journalists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and said that the government cannot use such stringent laws to suppress reporting from the ground on communal violence.

In a statement, the Guild said that it is “stunned” by the police action against journalists and said that this is am ploy by the ruling government to distract from its failure in controlling majoritarian violence in the state.

The detention and charging of these two journalists comes after the Tripura police booked four lawyers under the tough UAPA and various other sections of the IPC. The police says that they provoked ‘communal tensions’ through their posts on social media which reported on alleged anti-Muslkim violence in the state.

102 Charged Under UAPA After Tripura Violence

Last week, the Tripura Police had booked 102 social media users for posts which claimed violence against Muslims in Tripura. These included 68 Twitter users, 32 Facebook users, and 2 YouTube users. The polie has directed Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to freeze their accounts and sought further information on them as well.

The Tripura police had also slapped the UAPA and other penal provisiosn after they conducted a fact-finding and legal assistance mission in the state and

released their findings at the Press Club of India in Delhi. Two of them, Mukesh and Ansar Indori, were involved with Delhi-based rights organizations, PUCL (people’s Union for Civil Liberties) and NCHRO (National Confederation of human Rights Organizations) respectively. They had criticised the burning and looting of Muslim shops, homes, and mosques.

On the other hand, the Tripura police were downplaying such incidents while simultaneously moving to suppress counter-narratives to their claims, something which is being criticized by journalists and activists. The Editor’s Guild had expressed shock at the police’s actions against the 102 people and released a statement.

One of the booked journalists, Shyam Meera Singh, has said that he had been charged with UAPA only for tweeting the three words “Tripura Is Burning”. All of them have been charged with provisions pf the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA], and Sections 153A (promoting enimity between communities), 153B, 469, 471, 503 (criminal intimidation), 504 (deliberate insult with intent to disturb peace), and 120B (criminal conspiracy).

Before this, the Tripura police had registered cases aginst 71 people for ‘spreading rumours’ regarding the communal violence in Tripura. After this, the police had stated that “no mosque has been burned and an uploaded video of a mosque burning is not from Tripura”.

Shyam Singh Meera, Mukesh, and Ansar Indori have moved the Supreme Court to quash the charges filed against them.


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