SAWM condemns detention and arrest of Journalists in Tripura
South Asian Women in the Media (SAWM), strongly condemns the arrests of journalists Samriddhi K Sakunia and Swarna Jha and intimidation against media by Tripura police and false cases filed against them.
South Asian Women in the Media (SAWM), stands by their two colleagues, Samriddhi K Sakunia and Swarna Jha @hwnewsnetwork, who have been booked for spreading disharmony under three sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Fatikroy police station at Unakoti district in Tripura. SAWM applauds their courage and persistence to report the truth on the communal violence. They were on their way to Silchar when Assam police were asked by Tripura police to detain them. Later police officials from Fatikroy police station were charged under Indian Penal Code 120B, 153A and 504 based on a complaint by Kanchan Das of local Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). This procedure was conducted around 5.30am.
It is shocking and condemnable how the Tripura police have flouted section 46 of the CrPC , 1973 that states women cannot be arrested after sunset and before sunrise. Worse still, it is inexplicable why the Police did not follow procedures diligently. It is mandated under the provisions of sub-section (4) of Section 46 of the CrPC, 1973, for police to take prior permission from the Magistrate befit the Police want to arrest a woman after sunset and before sunrise. This indicates a growing trend by the government machinery to silence the media and any dissenting voices.
We appeal to the government of Tripura and Government of India to instruct law enforcers as well as various groups representing the ruling party to stop physically attacking, intimidating and detaining journalists from doing their job. Harsh laws like UAPA are invoked against 102 twitter accounts which was shocking. Press is the fourth of pillar of our democracy and it is the fundamental right of the citizens of this country to get first hand information which is disseminated by the media.
These attacks and detentions are violations of people’s constitutional rights and of freedom of the press and freedom of speech and expression. They are contradictory to democratic values.
We call upon the authorities in Tripura and Assam to immediately release Samriddhi K Sakunia and Swarna Jha and take strict action against those police who, instead of enforcing citizens’ legitimate rights, have wilfully broken the law.
South Asian Women in the Media (SAWM)