Chhattisgarh: Maoists kill journalist at weekly market in Bastar village

Maoists killed a senior reporter of a local daily at a weekly market in Basaguda village of Bijapur district of Bastar region on Friday. Sain Reddy, in early 50s, was working with Deshbandhu, one of the oldest newspapers of Chhattisgarh.

In a statement, Bijapur journalists expressed outrage and called for Bastar bandh on Saturday. "We condemn the incident and will soon declare our plan of action," said S Karimuddin, president of Bastar Patrakar Sangh.

Karimuddin said Reddy, the native of an interior village, was caught in the police-Maoist conflict. About six or seven years ago, police had arrested Reddy suspecting him to be a Maoist informer. He was released later as police could not find any evidence against him.

Some years ago, Maoists burnt down his village home, forcing him to flee to Andhra Pradesh. He returned after some time and was working with Deshbandhu since then. "We owe allegiance to none, still both sides suspect us," added Karimuddin, who knew Reddy for decades.

This is the second killing of a journalist by Maoists in Bastar this year. In February, the killing of Nemichand Jain had led to an outrage following which the Maoists had apologised. Jain was the first journalist to be killed by Maoists in Bastar.

A native of Basaguda, Reddy was visiting his home for the weekly market on Friday. He was at his home when around 1.30 pm, 3-4 youths attacked him with axes and other sharp weapons. As he ran towards the nearby police station, the assailants chased him and attacked him again. He died on way to hospital, locals said.

Bijapur journalists termed it the "most cowardice act" of Maoists so far. Bijapur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agarwal said a small action team of Maoists committed the incident.

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