Two policemen and one cameraperson from the national broadcaster, Doordarshan were killed in a Maoist attack on Monday, October 29 at in Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh. The state is set to go for elections in the upcoming month of November. Reportedly, a three-member Doordarshan team was in the area for election coverage.
What was the incident?
Reportedly, the attack took place near Nilawaya of Dantewada district. Many districts in Chhattisgarh has been affected by Maoists activities and extremists. The Doordarshan cameraperson, Achyutanand Sahu, along with police personnel Mangal Ram and Rudra Pratap Singh lost their lives in the attack.
According to The Hindustan Times, the three-member Doordarshan team was heading to report on a polling booth in Nilawaya near Sumeli camp where people have not exercised their voting rides for 20 years. The journalists were being escorted by a team of security personnel who were travelling on motorcycles. While Sahu lost his life in the ambush, two others, Dheeraj Kumar and light assistant Mormukt Sharma survived. Those injured were taken to the hospital.
Kumar narrated the horrific incident which unfolded in front of his eyes. He told the daily that around 10:25 am, he saw the motorcycle, which was heading the group, suddenly fall down while Sahu, who was behind them was hit by a bullet and collapsed. The motorcycle that Kumar was on, lost balance as a result and Kumar fell into a ditch. The horror did not stop there as for the next 45 minutes, many rounds of bullets were fired both by the police and the Maoists. Two or three Maoists were also killed in the process.
What do authorities have to say?
DIG Naxal operations P Sundarraj has said that the real face of the Naxals has been exposed, according to him these attacks are made to derail anti-insurgency operations reported Firstpost. This is the second attack of this kind in the last five days. The evacuation process is underway and around 111 CRPF battalion has been rushed for the reinforcement and evacuation process.
SP Abhishek Pallav said “If I had let the journalists go without security, there was a risk of abduction. I don’t know if I was the real target but the way they shouted anti-media slogans, looked like the target was the press”. He has accompanied the team and was waiting for few kilometres away on the main road, he rushed with his team to the area of attack after hearing the firing.
Union Minister Arun Jaitley condemned the attack and tweeted:
Naxals in Chhattisgarh have shown their cowardice by killing policemen & a DD cameraman in Aranpur. Government is responding in a befitting manner against such desperation of Naxals at all levels. Attack on the police & the press in any manner is heinous.
— Arun Jaitley (@arunjaitley) October 30, 2018
Pockets of poll-bound Chhattisgarh are hotbeds of Maoist activities. Just a few days ago, four soldiers of the Central Reserve Police Force died (CRPF) after Maoists blew up their anti-landmine vehicle in the state’s Bijapur district. Votes in the state will be conducted in two phases – November 11 and November 20.