For the past few days, social media platforms in India have been flooded with calls to release two journalists who have been detained by authorities following their coverage of communal violence in the Tripura state to the northeast of India.
Samriddhi K.Sakunia and Swarna Jha who work for the HW digital news network were arrested by the Tripura Police in Assam last Monday, triggering online calls for authorities to stop harassing journalists from doing their jobs across the country.
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
In an official statement by the Tripura Police, Sakunia and Jha were accused of posting "fake news" on social media, after a complaint was filed against them by a supporter of the right-wing Vishva Hindu Parishad political party.
Sakunia and Jha have been accused of inciting religious tensions by posting "unverified "news that a mosque was burnt in Gomati district and a copy of the Quran was damaged, further angering residents and inflaming tensions in the area.
Indian Women's Press Corps stands in solidarity with Samriddhi K.Sakunia and Swarna Jha,the two women journalists who have been harassed, intimidated and detained for doing their job.IWPC demands that the police immediately release them & allow them to do their job without fear. pic.twitter.com/BnVWARqYgH— Indian Women’s Press Corps (@iwpcdelhi) November 14, 2021
In response to the journalists' detention, the Indian Women’s Press Corps released an official statement calling on Indian authorities to "release them and to allow them to do their job without fear".
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