Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has expressed shock at the killing of Chhattisgarh based journalist Sai Reddy, who according to media report, was killed by Maoist activist on Friday last. Reddy (51), a native of Basaguda village in Naxalite-hit Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh, used to write for Deshbandhu newspaper of the State. Media reports say that Reddy was attacked by a group of Maoists with sharp weapons in broad daylight on December 6. Reddy was returning from Basaguda weekly market on that day, when he was allegedly attacked by the Maoist activists and he later succumbed to his injuries while on the way to the Bijapur hospital. Reddy, who was an active, honest and dedicated rural journalist received warnings from the Maoists in last few months. In fact, he was caught in the police-Maoist conflict as he was also suspected to be a Maoist sympathizer. However, his articles irritated the Maoists also, as he was critical against the misdeeds of Maoists. “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 during 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. Though we in Assam have not won our battles against the perpetrators even after losing over 20 editor-journalist-correspondents to anti-social elements in the last two decades, we must not get demoralized and continue our fights for justice,” said the JFA statement.
The intolerance grown by the Maoists in the recent past should also awaken the section of media persons, who remain sympathizers to the ultras, for the sack of impartial journalism, 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.