Tripura Violence: 2 Journalists Detained In Assam

Tripura Police on Sunday detained two journalists and were booked under a number of general charges for “publishing and broadcasting false and fabricated news aimed at disrupting communal harmony”. The two women journalists have been identified as Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha and as per reports they were held by Assam Police at Nilam Bazar, lower Assam while attempting to leave Tripura in order to avoid police questioning.

A police team from Dharmanagar reached Nilam Bazar to bring them back, Tripura Inspector General (Law and Order), Arindam Nath told ANI.

Earlier today both the journalists in a series of tweets had claimed that they were facing intimidation by Tripura Police for reporting the facts.

Denying their claims, the IG Law and Order was quoted as saying in an ANI report, “Two cases are registered against them, one in Kumarghat under Unakoti district and the other at Kakraban police station in Gomati district. One Kajal Das lodged the FIR with Kumarghat police station stating that both the journalists had been trying to disrupt the communal harmony of the state. On the other hand, the case in Kakraban was taken suo moto after one video full of false information was broadcasted by them”.

As per reports, in Kakraban a house owned by one Rahamat Ali, where regular religious prayers were conducted was gutted in a fire on October 19 last. Both the journalists went there on November 11 last and produced a small video in which they claimed damage to the Quran.

“The police had been investigating the case since the matter was first reported but the police did not get any evidence of the Quran burnt inside the room. After the video was uploaded on the web, we once again verified with the owner of the house, Rahmat Ali, who denied the facts reported on the video. Our SDPO contacted both of them after taking up a suo moto FIR. But, instead of cooperating with the police, they choose to leave the state changing their route”, the IG was quoted in the report.

“A police team was waiting for them in Agartala as they informed us they would leave Tripura from Agartala Airport, boarding a flight scheduled for 5:20 pm. But, when they were communicated about the whole matter and the specific case of the Kakraban police station, they changed their route and crossed Tripura’s boundary through North Tripura by road. However, with the help of the Assam police they were held at Nilambazar. A team of women cops from Dharmanagar police station already reached the spot to bring them back. They would be taken to Kakraban police station for initial questioning”, the IG added.

In a video posted on Twitter, Samruddhi said, “My colleague Swarna Jha and I had come to Tripura for ground reporting on Tripura violence. Before going to Unakoti district, we had gone to police station and had informed them that we are here in Tripura for reporting purpose and requested security from cops. While reporting at Pal Bazaar and Chowmuhani Bazaar areas, policemen were with us for the whole day. Around 8.30 pm, we get a call from Dhannagar police station, asking for our transportation details. After consulting our lawyers, we provided all the details.”

She further added, “Around 5.30 am, while we were checking out from the hotel, policemen came and said that a complaint has been lodged against us by the members of VHP, stating we have disrupted communal harmony. We have given a notice under section 41 (A) of CrPC and have asked us to appear before the police on November 21.”

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