DD Cameraperson, 3 Policemen Killed in Chhattisgarh Naxal Attack

DD Cameraperson, 3 Policemen Killed in Chhattisgarh Naxal Attack

India

Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Ashutosh Bharadwaj

Days after a Doordarshan cameraman and three policemen were killed in an ambush by Naxals in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, Naxals have released a statement claiming that they had no intention of targeting the media, and the cameraman was caught in the ambush, reported ANI.

However, Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallav raised questions on the statement issued by the Naxals and said:

“Why was camera looted? Because it had recorded evidence of what happened in the first few minutes of targeted media ambush.”
Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallav

He further said that multiple bullet wounds and skull fractures on the martyred cameraman indicate it wasn’t a mistake.

Cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu and two policemen, including an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) were killed in the attack on Tuesday, 30 October. Three other security personnel were injured, out of which Police Jawan Rakesh Kaushal succumbed to injuries on Wednesday, 31 October.

Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh Condemns Killings

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh condemned the killings, saying that the Naxalites want to instill fear and want to make headlines. He added that his government and the people of Chhattisgarh are committed in their fight against Naxal violence.

Anti-naxal operations Special DG Awasthi said that the naxal attack was not related to the upcoming elections, and asserted that it will not “hamper the polls.”

Today’s ambush was to target the road construction work in Dantewada’s Aranpur. Naxals had warned against causing harm if the road construction work continued. More anti-naxal operations will be conducted in the coming days.
DM Awasthi, Special DG (Anti-Naxal Ops)

Shots Also Fired at DD Journalist Kumar

The Doordarshan crew, which was in the state for election coverage, was with a joint search team of police and CRPF jawans. Correspondent Dheeraj Kumar was also fired at and he allegedly fell into a pit. Narrating the incident to ANI, he said:

“Cameraperson Sahu was in a separate car 50 meters ahead when he was fired at. As shots were fired at me, I fell into a pit and, for 45 minutes, witnessed many rounds of bullets being fired and grenades exploding nearby.”
Dheeraj Kumar, DD Correspondent

According to the CRPF, the media crew was travelling from Aranpur PS to Nilaway village when they were attacked by Maoists.

"For past 15 days, media persons were coming to remote villages to report problems of locals, ahead of polls. Agitated by this, Naxals attacked them," said Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallav.

I&B Minister Condemns Attack, Announces Ex-Gratia of Rs 15 Lakh

Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore announced ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh to the next of kin of the DD News cameraperson killed in the Naxal attack. He also announced a job for Sahu’s wife in Doordarshan.

He also condemned the attack, saying:

“We stand in solidarity with family of the cameraman. We will take care of his family. We salute all those media persons who go for coverage in such dangerous situations, remember their bravery.”
Rajyavardhan Rathore, I&B Minister

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also took to Twitter to condemn the attack, stating that the Naxals in Chhattisgarh have shown their “cowardice” by killing the police officers and the cameraperson.

Doordarshan Condoles’ Death

Doordarshan condoled the death of its cameraperson in Chhattisgarh and said the entire DD family stands with Sahu’s family in their hour of grief.

Prasar Bharati and All India Radio condoled the death of the CRPF jawans and the DD cameraperson.

The Mumbai Press Club condemned the “act of violence” against the journalist.

Editors Guild Offers Condolences

The Editors Guild of India released a statement following the Naxal attack, saying that the body was “saddened to learn of the death of a camera person of Doordarshan and two policemen.”

(Source: Twitter/Editors Guild of India)

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