With state and Central forces ready to launch a major offensive against Naxalites,the Chhattisgarh Police have served notices on a couple of print and electronic media journalists in the strife-torn tribal Bastar region,asking them to explain the basis of reports quoting Maoist versions of recent encounters.
The Dantewada police has served notices under the CrPC Section 91 on two Hindi journalists after they published the version of Ramanna,a leader of the outlawed CPI (Maoist),of the September 19 encounter near Singanmadugu in South Bastar. In Bastar,the police also slapped a notice on Rakesh Shukla,a TV Journalist in Kanker,asking him to appear for recording a statement after the regional channel telecast footage,purportedly showing Maoists claiming responsibility of the killing of Bastar Janpad Panchayat president Tansen Kashyap,son of BJP MP Baliram Kashyap.
The police served the notice on us at around 8.30 pm,asking us to reply within three hours. We furnished our replies,pointing out that the Maoist version published in the newspaper was on the basis of a phone call. The caller,who identified himself as Maoist leader Ramanna,had alleged that some of those gunned down during the ongoing Operation Green Hunt were not rebels but innocent villagers, journalist Anil Mishra said.
Along with its notice to Shukla,the police also attached a memorandum submitted by BJPs youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morha stating that the media had hurt the sentiments of local people by telecasting the Maoist version. The memorandum demanded banning of media organisations that publish news against the government.
Journalists working in Bastar see this as an attempt to mount pressure on them to pre-empt the possibility of aggressive news coverage of the joint operation against the Naxals. At a meeting in Jagdalpur,journalists described it as an attempt to browbeat the Bastar media,which they pointed out,has always been balanced in covering the developments from the conflict zone. Bastar journalists are caught between the devil and the deep sea. Maoists have been circulating letters,accusing the media of being stooges of the government and alleging that they published only police version on encounters and other incidents. On the other hand,the police by sending notices to journalists are hinting at legal action for carrying other side of the story, said Bastar Zila Patrakar Sangh chief S Karimuddin.
N Baijendra Kumar,Principal Secretary to the CM and Commissioner Public Relations,said the local police might have issued notices at their own level. The government will ensure that no journalist is harassed, he said.
Woman Naxal killed
NAGPUR: A woman Naxalite was killed in an encounter with police in Gadchiroli district on Tuesday,said officials. The encounter happened at around 10 am. A lot of blood was found on the ground,indicating more injuries or casualties on the other side, said officials. Four weapons,four grenades and five bags were recovered from the spot.
2 intellectuals held
KOLKATA: Two city-based intellectuals Prasun Chatterjee and Raja Sarkhel have been arrested and sent to police custody for two weeks for their alleged involvement with the banned CPI(Maoist) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Both were members of the Lalgarh Sanhati Mancha.