Raman Singh
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A day after Maoist attack, govt official says such incidents may go up in view of assembly polls but assures that security will be beefed up.

New Delhi: A day after a Maoist attack left two policemen and a mediaperson dead, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has said no more official sanction will be provided for journalists’ visits to high-risk areas.

The decision that was taken at a high-level meeting in Raipur Wednesday comes in the wake of a Naxal attack in Dantewada district Tuesday.

The BJP-led state government, which has been in power for the past 15 years, has come under attack from opposition parties for its failure to secure safe passage for civilians.

“Since the assembly elections are nearing, he (Raman Singh) feels it is safer to not take any risks,” said a senior official who was present at Wednesday’s meeting.

“If journalists want to visit such an area, they will have to manage themselves,” the official added.

On 19 October, the CPI (Maoist) had issued a press release urging journalists to visit the areas where the “struggle” was strong without any “fear to report”.

The release also goes on to say that earlier instances of violence in the area should not be invoked to deter journalists.

Speaking about the video in which Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallava is seen breaking down while talking about death of the policemen and the journalist, the CM reportedly said: “The SP should not have cried. SPs have to appear strong.”

Also read: If I raised my head 4 inches I would be shot: DD crew member who survived Maoist attack

Elections and security arrangements

Chhattisgarh goes to polls on 12 and 20 November. The official also said the Naxal violence is likely to increase in the next few weeks in view of the elections. “However, there will be adequate deployment of security forces to ensure everything goes smoothly,” the official said.

The area where the attack took place reportedly has a high Maoist presence. “An operation is likely to begin today to track the culprits,” the official said.

The official believes that the Maoists killed the journalist mistaking him for CRPF personnel.

“This is the first time such an incident has happened. We are doing our best to ensure there is no repeat of such cases,” the official said.

Also read: Doordarshan cameraman among 3 killed in an attack by Naxals in Chhattisgarh

“Journalists have been moving around the area as if it’s a picnic spot. That’s the level of security we have managed in the district,” the official claimed.

However, the road where Tuesday’s IED blast occurred passes through a Maoist-dominated territory. There has been movement of CRPF personnel on this road to ensure security for road construction workers.

The report incorrectly mentioned three policemen were killed. The figure has been corrected to two. The error is regretted.

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