Tripura violence: FIR filed against two women journalists for making 'inciting comments'

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Delhi-based women journalists Sammriddhi K Sakunia and Swarna Jha, booked in Tripura on various charges, including criminal conspiracy, were detained by the police in Assam’s Karimganj district on Sunday hours after they had checked out a hotel in Tripura’s Dharmanagar.

“We have been detained at the Nilambazar police station, Karimganj, Assam. We were informed by the officer in-charge of Nilambazar PS that SP of Gomti District (in Tripura) gave the orders for our detention,” Sakunia tweeted.

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.
— Samriddhi K Sakunia (@Samriddhi0809) November 14, 2021
The duo work for the media house HW News Network. In a statement, it said, “Assam Police says that our journalists will be taken back to Tripura for further questioning despite police allowing them to leave the hotel and giving 7 days notice to record a statement. This is sheer harassment and targeting of the press on the part of Tripura Police and Tripura Govt to suppress us from reporting the facts of the case.”

After a supporter of a right wing organisation had lodged an FIR against the duo in Tripura on Saturday night, they were booked under IPC sections 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace).

We have been detained at the Nilambazar police station, Karimganj, Assam. We were informed by the officer in-charge of Nilambazar PS that SP of Gomti District gave the orders for our detention.Official statement by @hwnewsnetwork . @Jha_Swarnaa pic.twitter.com/l3JPKUq7kw
— Samriddhi K Sakunia (@Samriddhi0809) November 14, 2021
The complainant, Kanchan Das, alleged in his FIR they had visited some houses of one community at a village under Fatikroy Assembly constituency and made some inciting comments against another community and “conspiratorial” remarks against the state government. They visited the state to cover the recent violence.

Earlier in the day, Sakunia had tweeted she would issue a statement soon “iterating all the intimidation I had to face while covering the #Tripura story.” She alleged they were not being allowed to move outside their hotel.

The Tripura police rubbished the charges. “We had served a notice on them seeking their appearance before the Fatikroy police station but they asked for time stating they would need to talk to their lawyer. So, we asked them to depose on November 21,” a senior police officer said.

“We had politely dealt with them and this can be verified with the help of CCTV cameras installed at the hotel,” the police officer said, adding the duo checked out the hotel at around 8 am.