SC Stays Criminal Proceedings Against 2 Women Journos For Reporting on Tripura Communal Violence

The Supreme Court on Wednesday has stayed all proceedings against both the journalists of HW News, Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha, who had been booked by the Tripura Police for reporting on the communal violence in the state, last month.

Issuing a notice on a writ petition challenging the FIRs filed by the Tripura Police over the reports, the Top Court sought a response from the state government, LiveLaw reported. Four weeks’ time has been granted for filing of the counter-affidavit, Bar and Bench reported.

On November 14, the women journalists were named in two FIRs filed by police for “spreading communal disharmony” following their reporting on the communal violence in the North-Eastern state. Prior to that, they had been also detained by Assam’s Karimganj district police station, where they were held for three-and-a-half hours before Tripura Police arrived to arrest them. The duo, however, were granted bail on 15 November.

They had been booked under sections 120(B) (criminal conspiracy), 153(A) (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), and 504 (intentional insult) of the Indian Penal Code.

Local Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Kanchan Das filed an FIR, alleging that the journos “delivered instigating speech against Hindu(s)” while they visited Fatikroy Constituency’s Paul Bazaar area.

He also accused Sakunia and Jha of being a part of a “criminal conspiracy” and blamed them for using VHP and Bajrang Dal’s name for damaging a mosque in the area.

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