BBC Journalist Forced to Leave Bastar After He Receives Threat

BBC journalist receives threat during his assignment in Bastar, police refuses to talk to him, calls him biased

2 min read
Naxals surrendered to Inspector General of Police SRP Kaluri in Sukma, on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

BBC Hindi journalist, Alok Prakash Putul, had to leave his assignment in Bastar, Chhattisgarh midway after he received threats.

According to the version posted by Putul in a BBC Hindi report, on Saturday, a local villager told him that people are looking for him and “anything can happen.”

Prior to this, Putul had tried to contact IG Bastar range, Shivram Prasad Kalluri. After many efforts, Kalluri texted him a link of his previous story and accused his reporting as ‘biased and prejudiced’.

Your reporting is biased. There is no point wasting my time with journalists like you. The nationalist and patriotic class of media supports me and it will be better if I spend my time with them. Thanks
Shivram Prasad Kalluri’s message to Alok Prakash Putul

Not just Kalluri but another senior policeman RN Das, SP Bastar, also had similar response for Putul.

Alok, I have much work to do in national interest. I do not have time for journalists like you who do biased reporting. Please do not wait for me.
RN Das’ message to Alok Prakash Putul

Bastar has been a battlefield between police and Naxalites for over a decade now. When in such tough conditions – where there is a threat to safety and police officials are not even prepared to talk to you – it is better to leave the area.

When another BBC journalist asked IG Kalluri about the incident, Kalluri denied to acknowledge him as a journalist.

I don’t know who you are. How can I trust you for your words? We receive thousands of calls every day and we are unable to discharge public duty. Every Tom, Dick and Harry calls and wants a prolonged interview. Are we running a communication center?
Shivram Prasad Kalluri to BBC

Reporting in Bastar is not easy as both police and naxals do not like to be seen in the bad light. Hence, unbiased reporting becomes a tough call. Recently another journalist Malini Subraniam was attacked and intimidated in Bastar.

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