Prominent journalist of Bijapur, Sai Reddy (51) was killed by unidentified assailants, while he was visiting his native village, Basaguda on Friday. Around mid-day, while Mr. Reddy was visiting the local market, a group of men armed with axe and machete attacked him. Severely injured, Mr. Reddy was rushed to the Bijapur district hospital, but he died on the way.
“We can confirm if Mr. Reddy has been killed by the Maoists or some other group only after investigation. Prima facie, it seems, the Maoists killed him,” Superintendent of Police (SP), Prashant Agrawal told The Hindu .
The journalist union of Chhattisgarh, Shramjibi Patrakar Sangh, condemned the killing.
Mr. Reddy was one of the most prolific district correspondents of the distinguished Hindi daily of central India, Deshbandhu . “He used to file almost on every alternate day and had an outstanding command over his subjects,” said Chief Editor Lalit Surjan.
“He perhaps had some problem with the language but his understanding of developmental issues was commendable. Relentlessly he filed on health, education, water supply, food distribution or corruption and like a true journalist he almost always wrote against the government,” Mr. Surjan said.
It would be difficult to replace him, he regretted.
Mr. Reddy’s unflinching commitment to work, perhaps, finally cost him his life, his colleagues feel.
“He rubbed all warring factions in a conflict area — the police, the SPOs, the anti-Maoist vigilante forces and the red rebels — up the wrong way,” said a senior journalist, who worked with Mr. Reddy closely.
His regular reports on siphoning off of government funds in the Maoist areas severely disturbed the local administration, the journalist said.
Last May while travelling with this correspondent, Mr. Reddy said that he was “under severe pressure from all sides.”
However, he never disclosed any names.
In 2008, Mr. Reddy was arrested by the State police and charged under the Special Public Security Act of Chhattisgarh for his alleged connection with the naxalites, like many other journalists and civil society activists of Chhattisgarh.
Later, he was released on bail. Earlier this year, journalist Nemichand Jain, 43, was killed by the Maoists.
The rebels issued a press release to confirm that a nondescript militia squad of the Maoists killed the scribe.
Naxalites later issued an apology owing to the pressure mounted on the outlawed party by the journalists of Bastar who blocked all news related to the Maoists.