Journalists should be invited to Tripura to check for communal incidents : Dev

  • | Tuesday | 16th November, 2021

Agartala, Nov 16 (PTI) All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) leader Susmita Dev on Tuesday said the Tripura government should invite a group of journalists on a fact finding mission to check whether communal incidents had taken place in the border state. Her reaction came in response to claims made by Tripura Minister for Information and Culture (ICA), Sushanta Chowdhury that two women journalists - Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha - from HW News Network, who came to Tripura to report on recent communal incidents and were arrested, “actually came here as agents of a political party" and wanted to incite people against the state government. “I do not know, who (which party) he had indicated. If there is no communal tension in the state then they should invite a group of journalists to the state to see for themselves what is happening here. “There was no religious tension in the state earlier and all this started only after the BJP came to power”, Dev, also a Rajya Sabha MP, said. The TMC leader also alleged that no arrests were made in connection with the communal incidents “because they very well know that BJP people would be arrested”. It is the Gujarat model that the Tripura government is following and not that of Bengal as the Bengal model means development," Dev who quit the Congress and joined the TMC on August 16 said. The Tripura minister had also claimed before reporters on Monday “ I doubt they (women reporters) are journalists”. Sakuniya and Jha were detained by the Assam Police at Karimganj’s Neelam Bazar, close to the Assam-Tripura border on Sunday. Later they were brought to Tripura and formally arrested on Monday morning on charges of posting provocative and fake news on social media. Among others the Editors Guild of India had protested the arrests. However, both were later released on bail on Monday. Without naming any political party, Choudhary 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 you not to be misled by the conspiracy”. Dev said after communal incidents took place in the state many people including journalists, human rights activists, and Supreme Court lawyers had visited the state, and after that 102 people were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against those who posted on social posted media on the incidents. “Even we were not aware that they visited the state and came to know only after people were booked under the act”, she said. Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president, Birajit Sinha said, “Arresting journalists when they were covering any incident is tantamount to infringement of the fundamental right. It is not acceptable in a democratic state”. The journalists were arrested by the Tripura Police on Monday morning and produced before the CJM’s court in Gomti district and were later granted bail. The official said journalists had posted on social media that a mosque in Gomti district was torched and a copy of the Quran was damaged. The officials claimed that the police suspected that the uploaded videos were tampered with and wanted to verify their genuineness or otherwise. In a tweet on November 11, Sakuniya wrote: #TripurViolenceDarga Bazar: At around 2.30 am on October 19, some unidentified people set the mosque on fire in Darga Bazar area. The people of the locality are very upset that now they have no place to go and pray. A press release issued by Tripura Police Chief VS Yadav’s office claimed that Sakuniya’s post was not accurate and promoted a sense of hatred among 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 Rahmat Ali in Hurizala and claimed that a Quran was burned in the incident which occurred on the night of October 19. “This is contrary to the conclusions that have come to the fore during the investigation as no such damaged books/documents were brought to the notice of the investigating officer and the fire service personnel who extinguished the fire,” the police statement said. PTI JOY MM JRC JRC

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