New Delhi: Naxals on Friday released a statement on the Dantewada attack, that killed a Doordarshan cameraman and two security personnel. The statement said, “DD Cameraman Achutyanand Sahu was killed after being caught in the ambush and we had no intention of targeting the media.” (Also read: ‘Govt Has Taken Attack Seriously,’ Says Rajnath) Also Read - Selfie Gone Wrong! Chhattisgarh Man Trampled to Death by Wild Elephant When He Tried to Take a Picture With It

Police have, however, rubbished the statement, questioning if Sahu wasn’t targeted, why was his camera taken away. Reacting to the statement, Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallav said, “Why was the camera looted? Because it had recorded evidence of what happened in the first few minutes of the targeted media ambush. Multiple bullet wounds and skull fractures on the martyred cameraman in no way indicate that it was by mistake.” Also Read - COVID-19: Centre, States Discuss Fresh Spurt in Cases; Nationwide Lockdown on Cards Again?

Meanwhile, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has announced a compensation of Rs 15 lakh and job to Sahu’s widow.  The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister “strongly” condemned the attack on Doordarshan (DD) News crew in Dantewada. “Deeply saddened by the demise of our cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu and two jawans of CRPF. These insurgents will not weaken our resolve. We will prevail,” he said. Also Read - Chhattisgarh Shocker: Woman Beaten to Death by Son's Friend For Resisting Rape Attempt

The attacks came in the wake of Naxals warning the locals to stay out of the Assembly elections to be held in two phases on November 12 and 20. Meanwhile, about 65,000 troops from various Central and state police forces will be deployed for the first phase of the Assembly polls in the state, officials said.

In two recent attacks, Naxals have killed nine security personnel and the DD News cameraman, prompting security officials to direct personnel to “maintain a very high state of alert till the polls process is completed”. Officials said contingents from Central forces such as the CRPF, BSF, ITBP, SSB, CISF and RPF, and a few from state police forces have reached capital Raipur. These will be in position at their designated locations and polling booths by this week, they said.

“About 650 companies of Central and state police forces will be deployed for the first phase of polls in the state. The (personnel of) Chhattisgarh Police is in addition to this,” a senior official said.