Its recent statements and actions suggest the Tripura Police does not understand the work of journalists. On Monday, it arrested two reporters from HW News, Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarnaa Jha, who were covering anti-Muslim violence in the state.

They are accused of being part of a criminal conspiracy to spread communal disharmony and malign the government. The police claim they also fabricated and concealed records on the anti-Muslim violence as part of this conspiracy.

It has become necessary to reiterate the obvious. First, reporting on communal violence does not amount to fuelling communal violence. Second, reporting local accounts that may contradict police and government versions of an event does not amount to spreading fake news. Third, journalists investigate events and document them as a matter of public record. It is not their job to deliver evidence directly to the police.

The violence that wasn’t

Reports of communal violence started emerging from Tripura last month. Hindu right-wing groups organised rallies to protest against anti-Hindu violence in neighbouring Bangladesh. Some of these demonstrations spun into violence.

On October 21, security personnel in Gomati district were reportedly injured as they clashed with Hindu right-wing activists trying to go ahead with a rally despite prohibitory orders. But for days, confusion prevailed as the state police refused to…

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