In a shocking attack that brought to sharp relief the wanton destruction and killing perpetrated by Maoists, a Doordarshan video journalist, Achyutananda Sahu, was killed in a dastardly ambush at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. Along with Sahu, two CRPF personnel, sub-inspector Rudra Pratap and assistant constable Mangalu, were also martyred.
"We were not aware that something has happened to my brother. Someone called me and informed. I wasn't able to believe that he is no more," Sahu's brother recounted the horrific events of the day, even as in Bhubaneshwar, Sahu's friends and classmates from the Biju Patnaik Film Institute along with other video journalists gathered in front of a Ram Mandir to pay their tributes.
A common feature in reporting of Achyutananda Sahu's demise has been that he was martyred, which stems not only from the fact that he was killed in the line of duty -- while covering the upcoming assembly elections in Chhattisgarh for the national broadcaster -- but also, from his background as an ex-serviceman in the Indian Army, who had to leave the defense force after sustaining an injury during training.
Sahu, who hailed from the Ghusuramunda village in Odisha, had taken voluntary retirement from the forces and went on to pursue cinematography at the aforementioned institute in his home state, as per Odisha TV. He joined Doordarshan in 2013 and was married two years ago. He is survived by his wife and infant daughter, who live in New Delhi, as per Sahu's brother.
While Achyutananda Sahu's family, friends, colleagues, peers, and members of the news media fraternity deal with his loss, authorities in positions of power have been doing what they can to ensure that his sacrifice isn't forgotten and that his young family is taken care of.
Director General of Doordarshan Supriya Sahu extended her condolences for those who lost their lives:
Meanwhile, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has announced a job at Doordarshan for Achyutananda Sahu's wife
The minister had earlier issued a statement on the brutal murder and tweeted the following:
The Union government has announced Rupees 15 lakh ex-gratia to Sahu's family. “Ten lakh Rupees were granted by Doordarshan, while Rs 5 lakh will be contributed from the PIB journalist welfare fund,” an I&B ministry official said.
The ambush on Sahu and the CRPF had taken place at around 11:20 am on Tuesday as the Doordarshan news team was heading towards the Nilvaya village from Arangpur with a team of security personnel. As per sources, between 100 and 200 Maoists were involved in the ambush.
People from all over are sending in their condolences and prayers to the martyred video journalist.