Days after the Supreme Court’s order that “no coercive action” shall be taken against journalist Shyam Meera Singh, who was booked under UAPA for tweeting on the recent communal violence in Tripura, the state’s police has asked Twitter to provide details of his account on the social media platform.
On Friday, Singh received an e-mail from Twitter informing him that it had received a legal notice regarding his account @ShyamMeeraSingh which “obligates Twitter to produce information” related to the account.
“This is an open abuse of the power of the state to infiltrate privacy of its citizens,” Singh wrote on Twitter, sharing the e-mail.
In October, Tripura police had booked 102 social media users, including several journalists, activists and lawyers, under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for tweeting about and reporting on the communal violence in the state.
Tripura was witness to severe communal violence in October that was triggered by events that happened earlier the same month in Bangladesh. During Durgapuja celebrations in mid-October, communal violence had broken out in parts of Bangladesh and several pandals and Hindu temples were vandalised, resulting in the death of at least seven people. Following this, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), decided to organise a rally in Tripura, in protest. During this rally, on October 26, several mosques and shops were vandalised.
Singh and many others were booked under UAPA for tweeting about this.
On November 17, the Supreme Court had ordered that no coercive action shall be taken against Singh and two Delhi-based human rights lawyers, Mukesh of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties and Ansar Indori of National Confederation of Human Rights, who were also booked under UAPA.
Despite this, the Tripura police has now sent a legal notice to obtain Singh’s Twitter account details.
Meanwhile, HW News Network, employer of the two women journalists – Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha – who were arrested for reporting on the Tripura violence, has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the action of Tripura Police against its journalists.
A request for hearing the matter before December 9 was made by the publication’s advocate when the petition was mentioned before the Chief Justice on Friday. The request was allowed by the latter.
Sakunia and Jha were arrested on November 14 on charges of “maligning the image of Tripura government, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal.” They were initially detained by the Assam Police while on their way to Silchar, Assam after the Tripura Police registered multiple cases against them. They were granted bail the following day.