RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh police on Saturday detained three journalists in strife-torn Narayanpur district for entering the Abujhmad area, a known maoist hotbed, without informing the authorities, a senior police officer said. Abujhmad is considered as a Maoist conflict-zone and mediapersons have to inform the local polcie before entering the area according to the security protocol in place. One of the three scribes detained is said to be a foreigner, reportedly the Indian correspondent of current affairs magazine ‘The Diplomat’.
One of the other two was identified as Bastar-based Kamal Shukla. No details of the Pune-based third scribe have emerged. “We have detained all three for interrogation as they dodged the instruction of police when they entered the Abujhmad region. They were advised not to venture inside without informing the district administration (Collector or the SP) as the region is hyper-sensitive. But they not only ignored the advisory but clandestinely entered Abujhmad and returned after spending two days inside,” Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Jitendra Shukla told TNIE.
The journalists had been informed of the protocol three days ago, said the SP, adding that they were traced after coming out of the area by another police station and were detained immediately for questioning on how they entered the area. The three were being quizzed on why they entered the area without informing the administration, the actual purpose of their visit, how they went inside avoiding the security protocol in place and what they did inside for two days.
“They are being interrogated now. If the police find anything extremely dubious and contentious they can also be taken into custody,” the district police chief said. State home minister Ramsewak Paikra had informed the Chhattisgarh Assembly that fourteen journalists had been arrested between January 2017 and November 29, 2017 in the state after cases had been registered against them.
Kamal Shukla had led a campaign in 2015 in south Chhattisgarh highlighting the “plight” of media persons, who are reporting under extremely precarious situations in conflict zone sof Bastar, as they are allegedly being “targeted by both the police and the Maoists”.