By- N J Thakuria
Voice of protests against the brutal killing of a dedicated journalist of Chhattisgarh in central India by the Maoists is slowly increasing. After the protest demonstrations by the Chhattisgarh based journalists, various other media persons’ organizations of the country have joined in the chorus.
Recently two national journalist bodiesnamely Indian Federation of Working Journalists and Indian Journalists Union have issued statements against the assassination of Sai Reddy, who used to work for prominent Hindi newspaper Deshbandhu.
Earlier, northeast India based scribe body Journalists’ Forum Assam(JFA) expressed shock at the killing of 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 the broad daylight, while he was returning from Basaguda weekly market. Reddy was sent to the Bijapur hospital, but the doctors declared him brought dead.
An active, honest and committed rural journalist used to receive warnings from the ultra Left outfits in their localities for few months. In fact, he was reportedly caught in the police authority-Maoist conflict as he was also suspected to be a Maoist sympathizer. On the other hand, his articles irritated the Maoists as he was critical against their misdeeds.
“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 newspaper of Chhattisgarh reported while quoting Bastar Patrakar Sangh.
Two more journalists of 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 till 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 a cowardice act and demanded the Chhattisgarh police to take appropriate actions to book the killers under the law.
“We also extend our supports 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.