The Tripura Police have summoned HW News Associate Editor Arti Ghargi in a case related to the media organisation’s coverage of the anti-Muslim violence in the state. The summons came after the police allowed Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha to leave the state after questioning them for nine hours on Friday.
Sakunia and Jha, who work for HW News, had been arrested on Monday on charges of spreading communal disharmony. Hours later, they were granted bail.
The two journalists have been booked in two police cases in Tripura. One of them was filed at the Fatikroy police station in North Tripura on November 13, and the other one was registered at Kakraban in Gomati district on the next day.
Ghargi has received the summons from the Kakraban Police on Friday. The police had asked her to appear for questioning at 11 am on Saturday. However, she has requested for an extension, citing her medical condition.
According to HW News, Sakunia and Jha had appeared for questioning on Wednesday in the case registered at Kakraban as mandated by their bail conditions. On the following day, the Fatikroy police station recorded their statement.
The Kakraban Police had summoned Sakunia and Jha for questioning again on Friday, according to HW News. But they were allowed to leave after the questioning. “Both the reporters are on their way home,” the statement from the news organisation said.
The two journalists have been called in for questioning again on November 26.
Cases against the journalists
The two journalists were booked by Fatikroy Police on Sunday based on a complaint by a man named Kanchan Das. He alleged that Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha of HW News had made an “instigating speech while visiting people from the Muslim community” in the Unakoti district’s Paul Bazaar area.
The other complaint, filed by the police on their own, accused the journalists of “creating hatred between religious groups by fabrication, concealing documents”.
A statement by the Press Club of India pointed to a video tweeted by Sakunia on November 11. The video records her visit to Darga Bazaar in Kakraban and appears to show the interiors of a burnt mosque. At one point in the video, she pointed to burnt pages lying on the ground, and said “people say that this is Quran”.
The Tripura Police claimed that the video was contradictory to its investigation and even suggested that it may have been doctored.