Tripura violence: A case has been filed against Sammriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha
Two women journalists were detained in Assam on Sunday after a case was filed against them by the Tripura police for "spreading communal disharmony" following their reportage on the vandalism at mosque in the state.
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Sammriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha said they were covering the recent violence in Tripura. Ms Sakunia tweeted that they have been detained at the Nilambazar police station in Assam's Karimganj. She also said that SP of Gomti district gave orders for the detention.
The Tripura police said in a statement that the case involves a tweet by Samriddhi Sakunia, who visited a half-burnt prayer hall at a private house where claims were made of a Quran being burnt.
The police said they found no religious document was burnt and the journalists were asked to come to Agartala for questioning. They were detained after they were found to have left the state.
The two journalists told the media that they were detained by the police while on way to the airport. After three-and-half hour at the police station, the escort team from Tripura came. "We asked them to wait, saying our lawyer is on way. But they loudly said, 'no one is coming'. They also did not show us a copy of the order," they said.
This morning, the journalists said the police visited their and tried to "intimidate" them. They said they were not allowed to leave the hotel and move to Agartala.
Sources said a police team "served notice" to the journalists and asked them to appear for questioning on November 21. The sources also said they may be questioned in a fake news circulation case.
In an official statement, the HW News Network -- where the women work -- said the detention took place "despite the police allowing them to leave hotel and giving them a week's time to record a statement... This is sheer harassment and targetting of the press on part of Tripura police".
The Editors' Guild of India tweeted to say that it condemns the arrest and "demands their immediate release and restoration of their freedom to travel".
Last week, tweets were circulated on social media alleging that a mosque in Tripura has been vandalised during a rally by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The Union home ministry issued a strong denial, saying the reports were fake and "complete misrepresentation of facts". The mosque in Dargabazar area of Kakraban has not been damaged. But the fake news has been followed by reports of protests and violence in Maharashtra, the ministry said.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were asked by the Tripura Police to provide details of over a hundred accounts from which the posts were allegedly shared. The Tripura police have registered five cases against 71 people -- including Supreme Court lawyers, activists, and religious campaigners -- for the posts.