Death Leads To Condemnation of Maoist Brutality To Journalists

Guwahati: The voice of protests against the brutal killing of a dedicated journalist from Chhattisgarh in central India, by the Maoists, is slowly increasing. After the protest, demonstrations by Chhattisgarh based journalists, various other media organizations in India have joined in the chorus.

Recently, two national journalist bodies, namely Indian Federation of Working Journalists and Indian Journalists Union, issued statements against the assassination of Sai Reddy, who used to work for the prominent Hindi newspaper Deshbandhu. Earlier, northeast India-based scribe body “Journalists’ Forum Assam” (JFA) expressed shock at the killing of the Chhattisgarh based journalist, who was targeted by a group of Maoist activists on December 6, 2013.

Reddy (51), a native of Basaguda village in Naxalite-hit Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh, was attacked by the group of goons with sharp weapons in broad daylight, while he was returning from Basaguda weekly market. Reddy was sent to the Bijapur hospital, but doctors declared him brought dead.

An active, honest and committed rural journalist, Reddy did receive warnings from the ultra Left outfits over the past few months. In fact, he was reportedly caught in the police (authority)-Maoist conflict and was suspected to be a Maoist sympathizer. On the contrary, his articles irritated the Maoists as he was critical of their misdeeds.

sai reddy
Sai Reddy, who faced Maoist brutality on December 6 last.

“We condemn the incident. This is the second killing of a journalist by Maoists in Bastar this year. In February, the killing of Nemichand Jain (43) had led to an outrage following which the Maoists had apologized,” a local Chhattisgarh newspaper reported, while quoting Bastar Patrakar Sangh.

Two more journalists in the State, namely Sushil Pathak and Umesh Rajput were also slaughtered by miscreants before Nemichand Jain and Sai Reddy in the last three years. The Chhattisgarh government has hardly acted to resolve the cases and to punish the culprits involved behind the killings until today, added the report.

The JFA, in a statement issued by its president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, termed the killing of Sai Reddy as an act of cowardice and demanded the Chhattisgarh police take appropriate actions to book the killers under the law.

“We also extend our support to the agitating journalists of Chhattisgarh, who have demonstrated against the killing of journalists in the State,” said the JFA statement. Comparing to the similar situation prevailing in Assam, where over 20 editor-journalist-correspondents have been killed by anti-social elements in the last two decades, the JFA argued that journalists must continue fighting for justice.

“We in Assam have not won our battles against the perpetrators of these crimes, but we must not get demoralized and continue our fights for Justice for the victim families,” the scribe body asserted. The intolerance grown by the Maoists in the recent past should also awaken the section of media persons, who remain sympathizers to the ultras, concluded the JFA statement adding that the incident may also remind the journalists of northeast India to maintain equidistance from both the men in uniform and the separatist ultras for their own security if not for the sack of impartial journalism.

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (Northeast India) based journalist, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world.