Doordarshan cameraman killed during ambush, no intention of targeting media: Naxals
NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Maoist) has released a statement claiming the Dantewada attack on Friday. It further says that it was never their intention to target the media and kill the DD cameraperson Achutyanand Sahu.
Two policemen and Sahu were killed while two others injured in the Naxals attack on Tuesday in poll-bound Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district.
The two-page handwritten letter, shared by news agency ANI, was signed by Sainath, chief of Darbha division committee, CPI (Maoist).
“Every day, our villages are attacked, locals beaten up, killed in fake encounters, imprisoned over fake cases. Some are nabbed under the fake pretence of surrender and presented as Naxals to the media.
All this has become a common affair now,” claimed the letter, adding that political parties are misleading the media.
Recalling the incidents of the encounter on October 30, the Naxals claimed that like every other day, police tried to ambush them on this day too. “We had no idea that the the Doordarshan team is also present. The forced firing on us led to the death of Achutyanand Sahu. We will never kill journalists on purpose,” it said.
Addressing media directly, the letter requests journalists not to accompany policemen, especially those on election duty, in conflict zones.
Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallav, however, dismissed the statement claiming that the cameraman was killed since it has recorded evidence of the first few minutes of the ambush.
“Why was camera looted? Because it had recorded evidence of what happened in the first few minutes of targeted media ambush. Multiple bullet wounds and skull fractures on the martyred cameraman in no ways indicates it was by mistake,” said Pallav.
A three-member Doordarshan team, which included Sahu, lighting assistant Mormukut Sharma and journalist Dhiraj Kumar, were in Chhattisgarh for the coverage of the upcoming Assembly polls and had joined the police party travelling on eight motorcycles through a desolate and forested area on their way to Nilawaya village in Dantewada district, about 450 kilometres from state capital Raipur.
Sahu, died in the early minutes of the ambush when he was hit by a bullet while riding pillion with a policeman on a motorcycle.