Women Journalists Accuse Tripura Cops Of “Intimidation”, Named In FIR

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Tripura Violence: A case has been filed against Sammriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha.

Agartala, Tripura:

Two women journalists in Tripura have been named in an FIR (first information report) after a complaint by a supporter of the right-wing group Vishva Hindu Parishad. The 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. 

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  Section 120 (B) of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) in the complaint filed by Kanchan Das. 

Even as Ms Sakunia alleged in a tweet that they were not allowed to leave the hotel, sources claimed a team of cops “only served a notice”  to them, and later asked them to appear for questioning on November 21. “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,” a police officer said. 

Amid huge protests in Maharashtra over the reported clashes in Tripura, the Home Ministry on Saturday trashed the claims about the vandalism of a mosque in Gomati district. 

Ms Jha, in a series of tweets, on Saturday had said they spoke to locals about the damage to a mosque. She also shared a copy of the FIR (first information report), and mentioned about a rally by the VHP in another tweet where she elaborated the claims of the locals linked to the right-wing group. 

Ms Sakunia this morning had tweeted: “We were supposed to leave for the capital Agartala but have been not allowed to move despite full cooperation. There are around 16-17 police deployed outside our hotel.”
 

“I will be putting out a statement soon iterating all the intimidation I had to face while covering the #Tripura story soon. Meanwhile, we are seeking legal remedy. Ps. We aren’t allowed to move outside from our hotel. (sic).”

Both of them may be questioned in a fake news circulation case, sources have said.

On Saturday, the Home Ministry dismissed reports of vandalism at a mosque in the BJP-ruled state. “There have been news reports that have been circulating that a mosque in Kakraban area of Gomati district in Tripura has been damaged and vandalised. These news reports are fake and are a complete misrepresentation of facts,” a strongly-worded statement read.

Last week, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were asked by the Tripura Police to provide details of over a hundred accounts from which allegedly fake and provocative posts were made.

Recently, over a dozen criminal cases have been filed and action has been taken against 70 people including Supreme Court lawyers, activists, and religious campaigners.

Journalist Shyam Meera Singh and lawyers Ansar Indori (from the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation) and Mukesh (from the Peoples’ Union of Civil Liberties) approached the Supreme Court to nix FIRs against them.
 

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