Agartala: Tripura Information and Culture Minister (ICA), Sushanta Chowdhury alleged that the two women journalists, who came to report on recent communal incidents in Tripura, were agents of a political party.
The Minister also alleged that the two reporters wanted to incite people against the state Government.
“These two people, who identified themselves as journalists, actually came here as agents of a political party and tried to create communal riot-like situation in the state. They even tried to incite a section of people against our government. I doubt they are journalists”, Chowdhury claimed before reporters at the Civil Secretariat here last night.
Two women journalists – Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha – from HW News Network, who came to Tripura to write on the recent communal incidents in Tripura were detained by Assam police at Karimganj’s Neelam Bazar, close to Assam-Tripura border on Sunday.
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Later they were brought to Tripura and formally arrested on Monday morning on charges of posting inflammatory and fake news on social media.
Among others, the Editors Guild of India protested the arrests.
The duo were however later released on bail on Monday.
Chowdhury alleged the two reporters were asked to answer questions of the police at Agartala in connection with a case registered against them at Kakraban in Gomati district but they gave false statements and left Tripura through Assam without intimation.
He claimed they posted fake footage and photos from outside Tripura even before visiting the spot and gave an impression that they are in the state and claimed a mosque was burnt.
“Her posts in social media incited the people to hit the streets at Amaravati in Maharashtra and protest against incidents which didn’t happen here. Many journalists from outside did bad reporting and wrote what did not happen in the state”, Chowdhury said.
He also alleged that a conspiracy was hatched against the state government.
Without naming any political party, Chowdhury alleged politicians are indulging in hooliganism and anti-social activities by bringing people from West Bengal.
“An agency was engaged by a political party, who are sending people in the guise of salesmen or journalists and trying to motivate people against the government,” he claimed, adding “I would request people not to be misguided by the conspiracy.”
The journalists were arrested by Tripura police on Monday morning and produced before the CJM’s court in Gomati district and later granted bail.
The official said the journalists had posted on social media that a mosque was burnt in Gomati district and a copy of the Quran was damaged.
Police suspect that the videos uploaded were doctored and wanted to verify their genuineness or otherwise, officials claimed.
In a tweet on November 11, Sakunia had written: #Tripuraviolence Darga Bazaar: On 19th October at around 2:30 am, some unidentified people burnt down the mosque in the Darga Bazaar area.
People in the neighborhood are very upset with the fact that now they don’t have any place nearby to go and pray.
A press release issued by the office of Tripura police chief V S Yadav had claimed that Sakunia’s posts were not true and promoted a sense of hatred between communities.
In this social media post, she also attached a video of her visit to the half-burnt prayer hall in the house of one Rahamat Ali of Hurijala, PS Kakraban on 11/11/2021 to claim that one holy Quran was burned in the incident which occurred on the night of 19/10/2021 which refers to Kakraban PS Case No.74/2021 U/S 436 IPC.
“This is contrary to the findings so far revealed in the course of investigation as presence of no such damaged books/documents was brought to the notice of investigating officer and fire service staff who extinguished the fire,” the police statement said.