A journalist was killed when an improvised explosive device (IED), allegedly planted by Maoists, went off in Madanpur Rampur block of Odisha’s Kalahandi district, police said on Saturday. The journalist was identified as Rohit Biswal, 43, who was working with Odia daily Dharitri.
This is the first reported instance of a journalist in Odisha getting killed in alleged Maoist violence. Kalahandi’s superintendent of police said police were the likely target of the IEDs.
As per preliminary information, Biswal had visited the spot to take visuals of posters put up by Maoists asking residents of the area to boycott the coming Odisha rural elections. The posters were put up near Karlakunta bridge in Mohangiri area, which passes through a forest region. The posters were allegedly put up by the KKBN division of CPI(Maoist) that is active in Kalahandi and Kandhamal border.
“Whenever such posters come up, there is a possibility that IEDs have been planted targeting police. But that does not happen every time. Our team was alerted, but before we reached the spot, the unfortunate incident happened. The area is still being sanitised by our bomb squad. We can recover the body from the spot only after ascertaining that there are no more IEDs,” Kalahandi SP Vivek M Saravana told The Indian Express.
Kalahandi’s Madanpur Rampur block shares its border with Kandhamal district and comprises dense jungles, and has heavy presence of Maoists.