Journalist, 2 policemen killed in Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh

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first_imgA video journalist with public broadcaster Doordarshan and two policemen were killed in an attack by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on Tuesday. Dantewada and other Left Wing Extremism-affected districts in the State go to the polls on November 12. The deceased journalist, identified as Achyutananda Sahu, 34, was on his way to Nilavaya village on a motorcycle to cover the inauguration of a polling booth set up after 20 years. He was accompanied by two colleagues, reporter Dhiraj Kumar and light assistant Mormukt Sharma.DD man caught in crossfireReporter Dhiraj Kumar, survivor of a three-member DD team caught in a Maoist ambush in Dantewada on Tuesday had a harrowing tale to tell. “After the attack took place, policemen and I took cover in a trench along the road. The injured policemen fought with the Maoists for around 45 minutes till reinforcements arrived. Over 50 bullets flew over my head. I could hear the cries of the policemen.” D.M. Awasthi, Special Director General, Chhattisgarh police said cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu had stopped on the road to shoot images of hand-made posters pasted by Maoists on trees adjoining the road. The posters read: “Stop attacks on village, Stop fake encounters and Stop atrocities on women.”Mr. Sahu is survived by his wife, Himanchali. They married in 2016. He was working with Doordarshan since 2012 and was an alumnus of the Biju Patnaik Film and Television Institute of Odisha. Just hours before he took a bullet in the head, Mr. Sahu had posted pictures of the ongoing poll campaign in Dantewada on Facebook.In a statement, the Chhattisgarh police said the incident was not related to elections and the Maoists ambushed a squad of local police which was carrying out patrol on motor-cycles from Sameli CRPF camp (about 6-7 km away).“The attack was on the security forces and it was unfortunate that the cameraman of DD News was caught in the crossfire. The media persons were not the target and this has nothing to do with elections,” DIG Sundarraj P. told The Hindu.’Attack not related to elections’The attack was not linked to the coming Assembly elections but was aimed at discouraging men and contractors working on a road construction project, he said. “I would like to clarify once again that these two incidents – one which took place this morning and another which took place three days back – do not have any direct or indirect connection with the ensuing elections in the State.”Mr. Awasthi said road construction work was on at several places across the Naxal-affected areas over the last three years.Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, condemning the attack,said insurgents won’t be able to weaken the government resolve.“Strongly condemn the Naxal attack on @DDNewsLive crew in Dantewada. Deeply saddened by the demise of our cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu and two jawans of @crpfindia. These insurgents will NOT weaken our resolve. We WILL prevail,” he tweeted.Teams of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Special Task Force (STF) and the District Reserve Guard (DRG) were immediately rushed to the forest to trace the ultras, the DIG said.Four CRPF personnel killed in attack on October 27On October 27, four CRPF personnel were killed and two others were injured when Maoists blew up their bullet-proof bunker vehicle in Awapalli area of Bijapur district.The next day, a BJP leader and member of Dantewada Zila Panchayat Nandlal Mudiyami was seriously injured after ultras attacked him with sharp-edged weapons at his village Palnar in Dantewada.The State is going to the polls next month and Naxalites have asked voters to boycott the exercise.The first phase of polls, covering 18 constituencies of eight Naxal-affected districts of Bastar, Kanker Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon, will be held on November 12.The remaining 72 constituencies will witness polling on November 20.Counting of votes will take place on December 11.(with inputs from PTI)last_img

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