‘Mummy, I Love You’: TV staff’s video as Maoists rained bullets

01 Nov 2018, 09:33 | updated: 01 Nov 2018, 09:38

NTV Online

Taking cover from Maoist fire in the jungles of India's Chhattisgarh on Tuesday, an employee of Indian national broadcaster Doordarshan recorded, in a quivering voice, what he was certain was his last message to his mother.

‘There has been a terror attack....We are in Dantewada for election coverage...the army was with us, suddenly the Naxals surrounded us,’ Mormukut Sharma, a lighting assistant, breathed into his phone camera, reports

‘Mummy, if I survive this...Mummy, I love you very much. I may not survive, the situation is not looking good...we are surrounded.’ But he also tried to reassure his mother. ‘I don’t know why, as I face death, I don’t feel afraid...’

Sharma did survive. His senior, cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu, 30, was killed in the Maoist attack. The Doordarshan crew had spent days in the area to report on the upcoming Chhattisgarh election next month. The three journalists were going with the army to an area that hasn’t voted in 20 years.

Around 10 am on Tuesday, just before they reached their destination, Nilawaya, Achyuta Nanda Sahu, who was filming the road, suddenly collapsed with a thud. Later, they would learn that they had been ambushed by scores of armed Maoists.

The sound of firing and grenades went on for nearly an hour after the attack. Another journalist on the team took cover in a ditch by the road.

Sharma took a series of videos as he waited for security personnel to finish combing the area.

‘Some water,’ he kept asking the soldiers, who were clearly preoccupied.