The Editors Guild of India (EGI) and Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) on Sunday condemned the detention of two women journalists by the Assam Police based on an FIR which said that the two journalists allegedly maligned the image of the Tripura government by their reporting of the recent communal incidents there.
Police officials in both the states have confirmed that Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha, journalists with HW News Network, who went to Tripura to write on the recent communal incidents there, were detained by the Assam Police at Karimganj's Neelam Bazar, close to the border between the two states on Sunday.
The duo is being kept at a government-run shelter home for women for the night and will be handed over to the Tripura Police on Monday morning, an Assam police officer said.
"Editors Guild condemns this action and demands their immediate release and restoration of their freedom to travel," the EGI said in a statement.
The IWPC also condemned the police action against the two journalists and demanded that they should be allowed to do their job without any fear.
"We understand that the two women journalists, Ms Sakuni and Ms Jha, are to be taken back to Tripura for questioning," the IWPC said, adding, "We demand that they be released immediately and be allowed to do their job.
The two scribes were held by Assam Police on their way to Silchar airport on Sunday. The Assam Police informed them that they were being held as "Tripura Police asked (Assam Police) to detain them (the duo)".
Sakunia and Jha were named in an FIR at Fatikroy Police Station of Tripura based on a complaint filed by a Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) supporter, alleging that they had maligned the image of the Tripura government by their reporting, according to a statement issued by their employer.
Earlier, Sakunia had tweeted, "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."
A senior police official in Agartala said that the two journalists were detained based on requests by the Tripura Police and a team of officials from Dharmanagar has gone to Nilambazaar to bring them.
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 by her were doctored and police wanted to know if the videos were fake or true by interrogating them," he added.
Last week, Tripura police had booked 102 journalists, lawyers and social activists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(UAPA) based on their tweets on Tripura violence.
(With PTI Inputs)