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Police question one more Bastar journalist

One more local journalist based in Dantewada district of restive Bastar region of Chhattisgarh was “questioned” by the police for alleged Maoist links on Wednesday.

Ajay Patel, a resident of Bade Gudra village of Dantewada and a “distributor and contributor” to a local Hindi daily, was asked to come to Dantewada police headquarters by the police on Wednesday.

“A Maoist leader was arrested for a case of an IED blast from Bade Gudra area recently. He confessed that the ultras bought wires from Mr. Patel’s shop. We called him only to crosscheck some of the Maoist leader’s versions. There is nothing much in the case and he is not a journalist. The police have the right the crosscheck if something comes as a part of our investigation. He was let off after questioning,” Dantewada district Superintendent of Police (SP) Kamlochan Kashyap told The Hindu.

Screening panel

The president of South Bastar press union Bappi Roy said that the case had been referred to the “Screening committee” which has been formed by the government of Chhattisgarh after journalists across Chhattisgarh protested against the back to back arrests of journalists based in Bastar.

“It looks like they have not registered any case against Mr.Patel. The screening committee in Raipur has been asked to look into it. If he has any kind of involvement with the Maoists, then the police have full rights to act against him, but if they are unfairly targeting him, then we will make sure we stand by him,” Mr.Roy said.

Four journalists from different parts of Bastar are in jail under various offenses and one journalist was forced to leave Bastar in last six months.

Despite facing continuous criticism and questions over the veracity of the large numbers of alleged Maoist surrenders in Bastar, the police on Wednesday claimed that 61 “Maoists” surrendered before them to “join the mainstream.”

“Wednesday’s surrendered Maoists include the Maoists military wing the PLGA’s supply member Fulo from Jiram village of Darbha and four Bal Sangham [Maoists’ wing for teenagers] members. We will make sure that they get proper education now,” said Bastar Additional SP Vijay Pande.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 4:25:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/police-question-one-more-bastar-journalist/article8472576.ece

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