Assam Police has detained 2 HW News Network journalists, Samriddhi K Sakunia and Swarna Jha, on their way to Assam’s Silchar from Tripura.
This has been confirmed by HW News Network in an official statement.
“Assam Police has said that they don’t have any case against our journalists but Tripura Police asked them to detain them,” HW News Network said in the statement.
While sharing the statement, on her Twitter handle on Sunday, Samriddhi K Sakunia said they were detained at the Nilambazar police station in Assam’s Karimganj district.
She said according to the officer-in-charge of Nilambazar PS, they have been detained at the order of the superintendent of police of Tripura’s Gomti district.
“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,” Sakunia wrote.
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.— Samriddhi K Sakunia (@Samriddhi0809) November 14, 2021
Official statement by @hwnewsnetwork . @Jha_Swarnaa pic.twitter.com/l3JPKUq7kw
On Sunday morning at around 5.30 AM, police officials from Fatikroy police station served an FIR to the journalists.
“However, they failed to provide any warrant,” the statement said.
The journalists have been charged under Sections 120B,153A and 504 of the IPC on the basis of a complaint lodged by a local VHP member for allegedly “maligning” the image of the Tripura government and VHP.
Sakunia earlier said the police arrived at their hotel at around 10.30 PM on November 13 and served the FIR copy at around 5.30 AM the next morning.
“However, after the due legal process, both the journalists were allowed to leave the hotel by the police,” the HW News Network statement said.
Section 46 of the CrPC,1973 states that women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise.
The provisions of sub-section (4) of Section 46 of the CrPC,1973 mandate that if the police want to arrest a woman after sunset, they have to seek prior permission of the Magistrate.
“This wasn’t followed by Tripura Police,” the statement added.
“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,” HW News Network added.
Earlier, DIGIPUB News India Foundation, an organization of digital media outlets of the country, condemned the Tripura government for police action against journalists.
“DIGIPUB News India Foundation condemns in the strongest terms the sustained pattern of intimidation against journalists of HW News Network,” the journalists’ body said in a statement.