Voices of protest are mounting in India against the brutal killing of a dedicated journalist in Chhattisgarh state by Maoist guerillas. Following local demonstrations in Chhattisgarh, the Indian Federation of Working Journalists and Indian Journalists Union issued statements against the Dec. 6 assassination of Sai Reddy, who worked for prominent Hindi newspaper Deshbandhu. The northeast India based scribe body Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) also expressed shock at the killing Reddy.
Reddy, 51, a native of Basaguda village in Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh, was attacked by a group of assailants with sharp weapons in the broad daylight, as he was returning from the Basaguda weekly market. Reddy was sent to the Bijapur hospital, where the doctors declared him dead. Bijapur district is now a stronghold of the Maoist Naxalite insurgency, and indepenent journalists like Reddy have found themselves caught between both sides in the conflict. Reddy, committed to covering local rural issued, had for months received threats from the ultra-left outfits, who were irritated by his coverage of their abuses. Yet he was also harassed by the police as a suspected Maoist sympathizer.
Reddy’s slaying was the second killing of a journalist by Maoists in Chhattisgarh this year. In February, the killing of Nemichand Jain, 43, in Sukma, another district within the state’s “Red Corridor,” led to an outrage—finally prompting the Maoists to issue an apology for the cirme. In the two previous years, journalists Sushil Pathak and Umesh Rajput were also slain in the state. Journalists’ organizations charge that the Chhattisgarh government has done little to resolve the cases and to punish the culprits.
The JFA termed the killing of Sai Reddy as an act of cowardice, 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.
The JFA statement also noted the grim situation in northeastern Assam state, where over 20 journalist and editors have been killed by over the last two decades. Assam is the scene of an ongoing insurgency by separatist “ultras,” who are believed to be allied with the Maoists.
NJ Thakuria for World War 4 Report
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