Raipur: Second Maoist attack in Chhatisgarh this week has shaken the media industry to its core. Doordarshan cameraman Achyutanand Sahu and two police officers were killed by the Maoists in poll-bound Chhatisgarh on Tuesday. According to sources, the attack was a sign of the Maoist protest against the upcoming elections happening for the first time in Nilavaya, the region where government agencies have been trying to create awareness about the importance of elections and voting in a democracy. For the first time since Independence, the Maoist-dominated region is going to witness elections in the upcoming month.

Doordarshan cameraman Achyutanand Sahu along with his fellow reporters was in the making of a documentary on the upcoming elections in Nilavaya. Another DD reporter was also shot during the attack but has survived with injuries. The media team, while shooting, was also given pamphlets by the Maoists denouncing the elections. The attack was a public declaration of Maoist disapproval of elections that are to be held in the region.

Maoists warnings to boycott elections and overthrow the government Source

This has put the Election Commission in a spot, failing their constant efforts of conducting elections in the Maoist hit regions of the country.

According to NDTV, briefing the media on this issue, DG Awasthi, Anti-Naxal Operations in Chhatisgarh said: “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. Today’s Naxal attack in Dantewada is not related to upcoming elections. The attack will not hamper polls. We have a total of 650 companies of security forces for the first phase of assembly elections.”

BJP’s Rajyavardhan Rathore was quoted saying, “We stand in solidarity with the 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.”
Rathore also announced ex-gratia of Rs 15 lakh to the family of Sahu. Sahu’s wife will also be employed by Doordarshan.

Photo posted on Facebook by Achyutanand Sahu hours before the attack.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala paid tribute to the deceased and termed the BJP government in the state “incompetent and worthless”. “The people of Naxal-hit Chhattisgarh have made up their mind to oust the incompetent and worthless government of Chief Minister Raman Singh,” Surjewala tweeted. He said, “A coward and scared Raman Singh has no right to be the chief minister even for a minute now”.

Just like in every typical mishap in the region, the opposition loves to play the blame game towards the party in power. The party in power would also tweet condolence messages for two-three days and the issue will dissolve eventually. The compensation given to the family could not replace the life that is lost. The Naxal movement draws from the village Naxalbari, and to understand the mindset of these disturbed Naxalwadis is difficult. It’s the rage against the government that has been built up since decades and the issue is far away from getting resolved. Till then let’s just wait and watch more people getting killed, either because of their unfortunate fate or because of the government’s disinterest in the issue or simply because some people don’t want to join the mainstream.

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