IJU condemns killings of two journalists

HYDERABAD/NEW DELHI, Oct 31: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly condemned the killing of two journalists, one in Chhattisgarh and another in Jharkhand on Tuesday.
The Doordarshan cameraman Achyutanand Sahu was killed in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh in an ambush by Maoists when he was accompanying a police party on poll duty.
Chandan Tiwari, correspondent of the Hindi daily, ‘Aaj’ in Chatra district of Jharkhand was killed by unknown assailants.
In a statement on Wednesday, IJU president Amar Devulapalli and secretary general Sabina Inderjit demanded both the state governments of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to immediately compensate their families and provide protection to journalists in conflict areas.
The IJU also criticised the Doordarshan for not providing any training or safety gear to Sahu.
“There are established guidelines to ensure safety of journalists covering conflict areas and all media organisations must adhere to these and lessen their risk,” the statement said.
The IJU said the police in Chatra district should also be made answerable as to why it did not take necessary action following the complaint registered by Tiwari about threat to his life.
The IJU demanded that the Jharkhand Government of Raghuvar Das must ensure the killers of Tiwari were not allowed to go scot-free and all efforts be made to arrest the culprits.
The recent two killings, said the IJU, once again puts sharp focus on the dangerous conditions that journalists are working under in the country, particularly in remote and conflict areas.
“The governments must see these killings as an attack on the citizens’ right to information and the Union government must enact a law for safety of journalists without any further delay,” it said.
The IJU’s state union, the Chhattisgarh Shramjeevi Patrakar Kalyan Sangh, said that Sahu was a fearless and dedicated cameraman who got caught in the ambush of the Naxalites on the police force in Dantewada. It called on the government and the public broadcaster DD to announce immediate compensation to his family.
Giving details of the brutal killing of Tiwari, IJU’s state union, the Jharkhand Shramjeevi Patrakar Union said he was kidnapped from Pathalgarha Chowk by some persons on motorcycles on 29 October and the police found his body with severe injury marks in a jungle in Baltharva Village.
Tiwari was rushed to the Simria hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
Tiwari had on 6 April, filed a complaint with the police that he was getting threats against his coverage of corruption in the district, but the police failed to pay any heed.
The union condemned inaction by the police and demanded the culprits must be arrested.
Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalist (APUWJ) also condemned the brutal killing of the two journalists.
The APUWJ termed murder as a cowardly act to muzzle freedom of press and demanded immediate justice for the slain journalists.
The APUWJ also expressed concern about growing crime against journalists across India.