Journalists held for spreading hatred in Tripura, get bail

Two Delhi-based women journalists, who were arrested by the Tripura police on Sunday for “creating hatred between communities by concealing record and criminal conspiracies”, were granted bail on Monday by the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Tripura’s Gomati district.

Senior lawyer Pijush Kanti Biswas, who sought bail for journalists Samriddhi K. Sakunia and Swarna Jha, said that the court granted bail on a surety of Rs 75,000 and asked them to report before the Kakraban police station on Tuesday.

“I have told the court that if necessary, the police can question the journalists,” Biswas told IANS.

Sakunia and Jha were detained by the police in Assam’s Karimganj district on the request of the Tripura police. A Tripura police team then went to Assam and arrested them on Sunday night before bringing them to Gomati district.

A statement by Tripura police said on Sunday that the two journalists had come to the state on Thursday, and a case was filed against them in the Kakraban police station on Sunday under various sections of the IPC for “creation of hatred between communities by fabricating, concealing of record etc. in furtherance of a criminal conspiracy as revealed from the Twitter posts by Samriddhi Sakunia”.

“Taking cue from the recent state of violence in Amravati and other parts of Maharastra as a repercussion of communal incident, it has become clear that some vested interests are trying to flare up the communal incident in Tripura.

“The investigating officer felt it wise to lodge a suo-moto complaint for creating hatred between religious groups by false fabrication and concealing documents etc.,” said the statement.

It said the police asked the two journalists to share the documents visible in their videos, but instead of coming to Agartala, the two reporters made an escape towards Assam.

They were also found involved in spreading communal hatred at Paul Bazaar in North Tripura district, and another case was also registered against them at the Fatikroy police station under various sections of the IPC, the statement said.

The Fatikroy police station served a notice to the duo and asked them to appear before the investigating agency by November 21, according to their convenience.

Sakunia and Jha work for HW News Network.

In a statement criticising the Tripura police and questioning the procedure of the arrest of the two journalists, the media house said: “This is sheer harassment and targeting of the press on the part of Tripura police and Tripura government to suppress us from reporting the facts of the case.”

The FIR was on the basis of a written complaint submitted by Kanchan Das, who is a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the media house claimed.