Tripura: Scribes held for spreading communal hatred granted bail
Tripura police on Sunday night arrested two journalists from Delhi on the charge of spreading hatred between communities while reporting on last month’s communal strife but they were granted conditional bail by a local court on Monday afternoon.
The police had sought their remand for five days.
Samriddhi K. Sakunia and Swarna Jha, who work in New Delhi for the news channel HW News Network, were detained on Sunday by Assam police on the request of Tripura police.
A police team from Tripura brought the journalists to Gomati district from Assam on Sunday night. Both the Assam and Tripura coalition governments are headed by the BJP.
In the evening, Tripura police listed the bail conditions set by the court.
Besides furnishing a bond of Rs 75,000 each with one surety of like amount from a respectable resident of Tripura, the accused have to appear on the first of every month before the investigation officer until further orders or the filing of the chargesheet, whichever is earlier.
The accused have been barred from leaving the country until further orders or the filing of the chargesheet, whichever is earlier, without obtaining the court’s permission, the police said.
Pijush Kanti Biswas, counsel for the journalists, told The Telegraph that Sakunia and Jha were arrested on the basis of an FIR lodged by Tripura police themselves in Kakraban police station. They were booked under IPC charges dealing with criminal conspiracy, intentional insult to provoke breach of peace and promote disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred between different groups, and destruction of document or electronic record to prevent its production as evidence.
Biswas said he had informed the chief judicial magistrate’s court at Udaipur in Gomati district, Tripura, that “They published whatever they saw and heard by visiting the affected areas in Udaipur and North Tripura. This cannot be construed as an offence; the FIR does not construe any offence. It is just an attempt to suppress the media.”
He added: “I also cited several other court orders.”
After hearing both sides, the court saw no prima facie reason to disallow bail, Biswas said.