Journalists across India continue to die of Covid-19 as they are playing the role of corona-warriors along with practicing doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, police personnel, etc. Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expresses its profound grief over their demises and urges every scribe to be careful while reporting the pandemic from the ground.
Lately, the country lost five journalists to the novel coronavirus infection related ailments within ten days and it has gone on increasing the Covid-19 casualties among the media fraternity. The latest victim surfaces from Agra were senior journalist Ami Adhar Nidar (50) died of the novel coronavirus infection aggravated ailments at Medanta hospital, Gurugram on 19 September 2020. Associated with Hindi newspaper Dainik Jagaran, the popular journalist was hospitalized a few days back after he tested positive for Covid-19. He left behind his wife, one son, and one daughter with other relatives.
Earlier, Anil Srivastava (68) from Basti in Jammu locality succumbed to Covid-19 complications on 18 September. Worked for the United News of India for many years, Srivastava died at Basti medical college hospital. Survived by his wife, two sons, and other relatives, the journalist also edited local newspapers namely VicharParakh and Prakash Times.
The same day, Madhya Pradesh lost one of its senior journalists to Covid-19. Harish Choubey (60), who worked for Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar from Jabalpur, was hospitalized after testing positive for the virus infection. Similarly, Abohar (Punjab) based journalist Naresh Bajaj (57) succumbed to Covid-19 complications on 10 September. Bajaj worked as a correspondent to SachKahoon, a newspaper published from Sirsa. Importantly, the journalist was also very active as a frontline corona warrior in the pandemic.
Ravinder Kumar (30) from Una locality in Himachal Pradesh died of Covid-19. Working for Dainik Jagran, Kumar was not feeling well for some time. He was sent to the hospital after developing symptoms of Covid-19 on 9 September and he died on the way. His cremation was conducted following Covid-19 protocols. Kumar left behind his parents, wife, brother along with a host of relatives.
Assam also witnessed two journo-victims recently as Udalguri based correspondent Dhaneswar Rabha (35) died of Covid-19 at Guwahati medical college hospital on 6 September. Rabha is the first scribe in northeast India to succumb to Covid-19 complications. He was suffering from renal problems and went for regular dialysis. Rabha left behind his parents, wife, two kids, a host of relatives.
The next day, senior journalist Ashim Dutta passed away at Silchar Medical College Hospital. Dutta (65), who worked for a Bengali daily in Barak valley, was also suffering from kidney problems. He was admitted to the hospital after testing positive for the novel coronavirus infection. A pass-out from Gauhati University, Dutta left behind his wife, only daughter, and other relatives.
Weeks back, Mumbai based senior film-journalist Shyam Sarma, Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) based scribe Narayanam Seshacharyulu, Pune based television reporter Pandurang Raikar, Kanpur based television journalist Neelanshu Shukla, Patiala based photojournalist Jai Deep, Tirupati based television reporter Madhusudan Reddy & video journalist M Parthasarathy succumbed to the infections.
The list also includes television reporter Ramanathan & news videographer E Velmurugan from Chennai, news presenter Davinder Pal Singh from Chandigarh, television scribe Manoj Kumar from Hyderabad, print-journalist Pankaj Kulashrestha from Agra, Orissa’s journalists Simanchal Panda, K Ch Ratnam & Priyadarshi Patnaik, etc.
Kolkata based photojournalist Ronny Roy became the first Indian scribe to lose his battle against the dreaded virus. New Delhi scribe Tarun Sisodia killed himself undergoing Covid-19 treatment at AIIMS.
Maharashtra’s veteran journalist Ashok Churi, who edited Marathi weekly PalgharTimes, died at a Palghar based hospital, who later tested positive for Covid-19. The printer-publisher of Asomiya Khabar (Rantu Das) also died at a Guwahati hospital and later tested positive for the virus infection.
Expressing concern over hundreds of city-based media persons lately tested positive for Covid-19, JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria repeated the appeal to media group management to come clean on their employees’ health status as part of social responsibility. The forum added that news channels and newspapers continue identifying other Covid-19 patients, but they collectively remain silent when their employees turn positive (except a few infected scribes made personal revelations in social media).