As Centre Terms Tripura Violence Reports ‘Fake’, 2 Women Journalists Are Booked in the State



Journalsit Samridhi Sakunia

Samridhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha are associated with Delhi-based HW News

Zafar Aafaq and Ahmed Kasim | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Tripura Police have booked two women journalists who were on a visit to the state doing ground reporting on the recent anti-Muslim violence.

The case against Samridhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha who are associated with Delhi-based HW News has been registered at Fatikroy police station in Unakoti district on the complaint by  supporters of the Visha Hindu Parishad.

The FIR invokes three sections of the Indian penal Code including section 153-A (Promoting enmity between different groups), 120-B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).
The two journalists alleged that on Sunday morning police did  not allow them to leave their hotel. “After they arranged a lawyer who spoke with police we were let go,” said Swarna Jha.

According to Sakunia, police asked for the details related to the transport, identity  of both reporters, on the pretext of providing “security”, but later they got to know an FIR has been filed. The duo missed their train to Agartala where they had a flight to catch on Sunday evening.

The police served a notice asking them to appear before an investigating officer after a week, on November 21.

In the last two days the journalists had done a series of spot reports showing the post-violence situation in the state thus contradicting the claims of police.

The case comes hours after the Central government issued a statement denying occurrence of any violent incident including vandalism and arson of mosques despite multiple reports by media and rights groups saying so.

“There is no reported case of damage to the structure of any masjid in Tripura in the recent past. There is no report of simple or grievous injury or rape or death of any person in these incidents as alleged in some social media posts,” the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement.

The statement specifically rejected reports of an attack on a mosque in Tripura’s Gomati district. “There have been news reports that have been circulating that a mosque in Kakraban area of Gomati district in Tripura has been damaged and vandalized. These news reports are fake and are a complete misrepresentation of facts. The mosque in the Dargabazar area of Kakraban has not been damaged and the Tripura Police in Gomati district is working to maintain peace and tranquillity,” the statement said.

Urging people to “maintain calm” the statement also underlines the protests by Muslims in parts of Maharashtra over Tripura situation. The police have registered multiple FIRs after there were reports of stone pelting in some areas during the protests.

“For instance, in Maharashtra there have been reports of violence and unsavoury statements that are aimed at disturbing peace and harmony, based on fake news regarding Tripura. This is very concerning and it is urged that peace is maintained at all costs,” said the MHA statement.

Tripura witnessed a series of ant-Muslim violence by Hindu nationalists for more than a week in late October, attacking mosques and Muslim properites. The attacks were organised after reports of anti-Hindu violence emerged in Bangladesh.

The Tripura Police, however, claimed that the reports of violence were exaggerated and booked activists, journalists and lawyers under UAPA for their statements on the incidents.

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.

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