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Journalist with bylines in The Wire and HW News, who tried to fan violence in Tripura, now seen trying to use Indian students in Ukraine for anti-govt propaganda

On November 13 last year, the Tripura Police had detained Samriddhi K Sakunia for publishing fake news, with the intent to spread communal violence. The 'journalist' was produced before a court in Gomti district, following which she was granted bail.

While the Indian government is busy evacuating 16000 stranded Indian nationals from war-torn Ukraine under ‘Operation Ganga‘, several people have accused ‘journalist’ Samriddhi k Sakunia of creating hysteria and peddling anti-government agenda to undermine the evacuation process. She was earlier arrested for peddling fake news and instigating violence in the State of Tripura.

On Saturday (February 26), the ‘journalist’ had joined the Telegram group of Team SOS India, a volunteer-driven initiative that aims to help the needy in times of distress. Until then, Sakunia had been actively fanning the narrative that the Modi government was not doing anything for the evacuation of stranded Indian students.

She made her intention clear while trying to solicit anti-government comments from students and their family members. Sakunia wrote, “Hello guys. This is Samriddhi Sakunia, a journalist based in Delhi. First of all, so sorry for whatever you all are going through. And I really hope you all to be safe and wish that government comes in rescue.”

“I am doing a report on how Indian students are stuck and find no help from the government. Would it be possible for you all to make a comment? I will send you questons and you can answer according to your free time and avaliability. DM me personally. Let me know and please tale care. Thanks,” the journalist stated her objective.

Screengrab of the messages on the Team SOS India’s Telegram group

Samriddhi K Sakunia also posted the link of her Twitter account and asked students to send their answers to her via a Direct Message. One Aswin Kumar inetervened and questioned the ‘journalist’ for using the crisis and the distress of the stranded students to peddle her anti-government agenda.

“So, you want your anti-government agenda even in a group where everyone is in panic and stressed about the safety of their loved ones?”, he inquired. Sakunia was caught off guard. In her defence, she claimed, “Absolutely not. You got it all wrong mate. I am trying to voice your opinion.”

Several users on the Telegram group joined Aswin Kumar and reprimanded Samriddhi K Sakunia for using the plight of the distressed students as a political opportuntuy. “I don’t think it’s the approproiate time,” wrote one Sarnan Chakraborty.

One Abhi emphasised, “Ma’am, we are not here to give opinions. We just want help. That’s it. We want (to) come (back to) our motherland.” A Telegram user by the name of Shubh Kamboz had even asked Sakunia to push the Indian government for evacuating Indian nationals stranded on the Eastern border of Ukraine, if she believed that she was a good ‘journalist’.

Screengrab of the messages on the Team SOS India’s Telegram group

Interstingly, the admin of the Team SOS India Telegram group quickly came out in defence of Samriddhi K Sakunia. It posted, “Talk to journalist, if possible. We need all the support we can get to raise the voice.” Aswin Kumar pointed out that the ‘journalist’ had worked leftist propaganda news portal such as The Wire.

When a user by the name of Akash had mocked the journalist for her alleged association with NDTV (as stated by Kumar to Opindia), the group admin defended Sakunia and censored his message.

Screengrab of the messages on the Team SOS India’s Telegram group

While speaking to Opindia, Kumar said, “With or without the knowledge of the admin, they are using the group for their propaganda. The admin asked the members to send a 1 minute video of distress so that journalists can raise issue with the government. I am not sure if the admin is affiliated with the propaganda.”

Samriddhi K Sakunia was arrested by Tripura police for spreading fake news

On November 13 last year, the Tripura Police had detained Samriddhi K Sakunia for publishing fake news, with the intent to spread communal violence. The ‘journalist’ was produced before a court in Gomti district, following which she was granted bail.

Sakunia had published a series of tweets, which allegedly showed “vandalised” mosques in Tripura. In one of the videos posted by her, Sakunia claimed that the ‘Holy Quran’ was burnt to ashes. When Tripura Police approached the person she referred to in her video, he denied the claims of the book being Quran. On questioning Sakunia over the phone, she had refused to present any evidence to support her claims.

The ‘journalist’ has a well-established social media presence on Twitter and Instagram that she uses to propagate agenda-based reports. From CAA to farmer protests and from Israel to central government, Sakunia has published countless posts trying to propagate a specific agenda that falls perfectly in sync with left-leaning media. Notably, she has also written for The Indian Express, The Leaflet, The Citizen, Two Circles and News Click.

Though she was reportedly working with HW News when she was arrested, her bio on Twitter mentions works in Indian Express, The Wire, and other portals.

Sakunia’s Twitter profile

Operation Ganga to the rescue

 The Indian government, under ‘Operation Ganga’, has moved a massive amount of personnel and resources to repatriate every stranded Indian from Ukraine and bear the expense of the travel. It must be mentioned that the Ukrainian airspace was closed for civilian aircraft from Thursday (February 24) morning onwards.

As such, the Indian embassy in Ukraine had to coordinate with the embassies of neighbouring countries in Poland, Romania and Hungary for the creation of safe evacuation channels. Under ‘Operation Ganga’, Indians were first taken in batches from Ukraine to bordering countries (currently Hungary and Romania) via buses/commute arranged by the embassy.

They were then airlifted to Delhi or Mumbai through chartered Air India flights. On Saturday (February 26) evening, the first Air India flight carrying 219 Indian nationals reached the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai from Bucharest in Romania.

As of Monday (February 28), a total of 1396 Indians were evacuated via 6 chartered Air India flights under Operation Ganga. It must be mentioned that prior to the closure of the Ukrainian airspace, Air India had evacuated 240 people from Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv on Tuesday (February 22). This puts the total number of Indian evacuees at 1636.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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