Sounds Of Bullets, Grenades Went On For 45 Minutes: DD Journalist

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DD journalist, Dhiraj Kumar's cameraperson Achyuta Nanda Sahu (pictured) lost his life.

Raipur:

A Doordarshan journalist, who survived a Maoist strike in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Tuesday, said the sound of bullets and grenades continued for 45 minutes after the attack, as he lay in a ditch on the roadside.

The DD journalist, Dhiraj Kumar, who was lucky to have survived the attack, said the horrific incident would never fade from his memory.

But his camera person, 30-year-old Achyuta Nanda Sahu lost his life.

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Along with lighting assistant Mormukut Sharma (35), they had recently arrived in the state for next month's assembly polls coverage.

"We were in Dantewada for the last two days and were informed that a polling station had been set up in Nilawaya where people haven't voted from the past 20 years following which we decided to go there on Tuesday," Mr Kumar said.

Deputy Inspector General (Anti-Naxal Operations) Sundarraj P told PTI the incident took place when a police squad was carrying out patrolling on motorcycles from Sameli camp towards Nilawaya.

Thirty-seven-year-old Kumar, who has been working with DD since 2009, is a native of Begusarai.

Recalling the incident, he said, "Ahead of Nilawaya at about 10 am, Sahu was recording visuals on the road. Meanwhile, police personnel removed a Maoist poster put up on a tree branch. Sahu, who was making its visuals, suddenly fell on the ground."

Mr Kumar realised it quite late that his colleague Sahu was bleeding.

"Suddenly, heavy firing started from forest on the left side of the road," he said. While their motorcycle lost balance, Mr Kumar fell and rolled in a ditch. "My lighting assistant Sharma also crawled towards me."

"For the next 45 minutes, I just heard sounds of bullets and grenades. There were about 200 Naxals. Some grenades fell near us, but thank God they did not explode," he said.

"We were lucky that Dantewada Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallav along with reinforcement reached there in a short span of time and pushed Naxals deep into the forest," Mr Kumar added.

The incident has shocked DD reporters who were on assignment in other poll-bound states. "Neither do we have social security, nor any insurance. Who will look after our families if we die? All the reporters (of Doordarshan) who have been deputed in poll-bound states from Delhi have decided to return to the national capital," he said.

Mr Kumar and Mr Sharma will reach the city on Wednesday.

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