Two policemen and a cameraperson of Doordarshan were killed and two others were injured in a Maoist attack on Tuesday in poll-bound Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.
The incident took place at around 11 am in a forest area near Nilawaya village, around 450 kms from Raipur, Deputy Inspector General (Anti-Naxal Operations) Sundarraj P told PTI.
The Maoists ambushed a squad of local police which was carrying out patrolling on motor cycles from Sameli camp towards Nilawaya on Tuesday morning, he said.
A three-member team of Doordarshan was travelling for election-related news coverage at the same time and was caught in the cross-fire, he said.
Today our patrolling party was ambushed by Naxals in Aranpur. Two of our personnel were martyred, and a DD cameraman was also injured and later succumbed. Two more personnel injured: DIG P Sundarraj #Chhattisgarh pic.twitter.com/ZgZMF6xdRJ— ANI (@ANI) October 30, 2018
"Those killed were identified as Sub Inspector Rudra Pratap, Assistant Constable Mangalu and DD News cameraman Achyutanand Sahu from Delhi," Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) Sundarraj P told PTI.
Sahu had come from New Delhi for the election coverage, he said. Other two members of the DD team, including a journalist, were safe, the officer said.
Constable Vishnu Netam and Assistant Constable Rakesh Kaushal sustained injuries in the gunfight, he added.
The injured have been admitted to Dantewada district hospital, he said, adding that if required, they would be airlifted to Raipur for further medication.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore condemned the attack and said the insurgents won't be able to weaken the government resolve.
"Strongly condemn the Naxal attack on @DDNewsLive crew in Dantewada. Deeply saddened by the demise of our cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu and two jawans of @crpfindia. These
insurgents will NOT weaken our resolve. We WILL prevail," the minister tweeted.
These insurgents will NOT weaken our resolve. We WILL prevail.— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) October 30, 2018
Rathore also announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 10 Lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased journalist. He also said that Rs 5 lakh will be given by the Journalist Welfare Fund of Press Information Bureau.
Teams of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Special Task Force (STF) and District Reserve Guard (DRG) were immediately rushed to the forest to trace the ultras, the DIG added.
On Sunday, four CRPF personnel were killed in an attack carried out by Maoists, using improvised explosive devices, in the state's Bijapur district.
The next day, a BJP leader and member of Dantewada Zila Panchayat Nandlal Mudiyami was seriously injured after ultras attacked him with sharp edged weapons at his village Palnar in
The state is going to polls in November and Maoists have asked voters to boycott the exercise.
The first phase of polls covering 18 constituencies of eight Maoist-affected districts Bastar, Kanker Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon will be held
on November 12.
The remaining 72 constituencies will witness polling on November 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 11.