The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to Tripura Police directing not to initiate any coercive action against journalist Shyam Meera Singh and two lawyers facing charges of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for disseminating information about the communal violence in Tripura.
A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, and Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli issued a notice to the Agartala police on the plea filed by advocates – Mukesh, Ansarul Haq, and journalist Shyam Meera Singh.
“If the state is allowed to criminalise the very act of fact-finding and reporting — and that too under the stringent provisions of the UAPA in which anticipatory bail is barred and the idea of bail is a remote possibility — then the only facts that will come in the public domain are those that are convenient to the state due to the ‘chilling effect’ on the freedom of speech and expression of members of civil society,” – added the plea.
The advocates through their plea, mentioned that UAPA was invoked against them “to suppress” their “fact-finding report” titled “Humanity Under Attack in Tripura #Muslim Lives Matter”.
Meanwhile, Shyam Meera Singh, a journalist with Newsclick, said UAPA was invoked against him for “merely tweeting (that) ‘Tripura is burning’.”
Recently, the Tripura Police booked 102 social media accounts for circulating fake news, intending to escalate communal tensions across the state.
Whereas, the Tripura Court on Monday granted bail to two women journalists who were detained by Assam Police based on a complaint, which accused both these journalists of defaming the image of Tripura government through their report regarding the recent communal violence.
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