Maoists claim they killed journalist

Claiming responsibility for the killing of Bijapur-based journalist Sai Reddy, a CPI(Maoist) statement described him as a police informer who actively participated in anti-Naxal movement Salwa Judum.

In a statement by the South Regional Committee of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of Maoists, the rebels said, "Reddy was working with police against our revolutionary people's programme in Basaguda and Usur block for over two decades. He was involved in the Jan Jagran of 1997 and actively participated in Salwa Judum during 2005."

The statement signed by Committee secretary Ganesh Uike said Reddy "was quite active in bringing people to Salwa Judum, making them SPOs (Special police officers) and was involved in murder of innocent villagers and creating a network of informers".

After he was killed on December 6, Maoists had been suspected.

Uike stated that Maoists are not against journalists in Bastar. "It is not our party's policy to kill any journalist who writes against us. It is not our policy to attack independence of journalists," he said, even as he tried to justify Reddy's murder.

Bastar journalists have already boycotted the Maoists. On December 14, around 200 journalists working in conflict zones of Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra rallied against Maoists.

S Karimuddin, president of Bastar Journalist Association, stated it was an irony that Reddy, a journalist with newspaper Deshbandhu, was jailed years ago as police believed him to be a Maoist informer. He was released as police could not find evidence. Later, Maoists burnt down his home, forcing him to flee to Andhra Pradesh. Reddy returned a few years later. Maoists killed him in a crowded weekly market in his native Basaguda village, meters from a police station.

Reddy is the second journalist to be killed by Maoists this year in Bastar. In February, the rebels had killed Nemichand Jain in Sukma. They apologized in March. "Our junior cadres had committed this act, the central committee is probing the case and would take action against the culprits," the Maoists said in their apology.

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