‘I may not survive’: DD journalist caught in Maoist attack recorded selfie video
A video journalist with Doordarshan recorded an emotional message for his mother as he and his team members came under an attack from more than 200 Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada on Tuesday.
“We have come under a terrorist attack. We came to Dantewada to cover the election and the army was with us, when suddenly Naxalites surrounded us,” Mor Mukut Sharma is heard saying in the video shot during the attack.
Sharma was a part of the three-member team, including cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu and journalist Dheeraj Kumar, sent by the public broadcaster to cover the next month’s two-phased polls in the state.
They were heading to a new polling booth in Nilawaya near Sumeli camp, where people have not voted for the past 20 years, when they were ambushed by the Maoists.
Sahu, sub-inspector Rudra Pratap and assistant sub-inspector Manglu of the state police were killed in the attack
“Mummy, if I survive this incident, I just want you to know that I love you very much. Chances are that I will be killed in this attack. The situation is not right,” Sharma says as the sound of bullets whizzing past can be heard in the background.
“I do not know why but I am not scared while looking death in the face. It will be difficult to survive this. There are six to seven soldiers with us. We have been surrounded…” Sharma says.
A Road Opening Party (ROP) of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CPRF’s) 111th battalion had launched an operation to ensure security to road construction workers.
The Doordarshan team, along with the security personnel from Aranapur police station led by sub-inspector Rudra Pratap Singh, was also heading towards Nilawaya on motorcycles to cover news related to development work and polling preparations, special director general (Naxal operations) DM Awasthi said.
“On the way, ahead of Nilawaya, the media team spotted a Maoist poster put up on a branch of a tree. To record, cameraperson Achyutanand Sahu got down from the motorcycle and went close to the tree. Around 200 Maoists opened fire on the team. Sahu was hit on the first round of fire,” he said.
Two to three Maoists were also killed in the exchange of fire, Awasthi added.