"Mummy, I love you. I may be killed in this attack." This was the message video recorded by Doordarshan staffer Mormukut Sharma for his mother during an attack by the naxals in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Tuesday.
Sharma, a 35-year-old Lighting Assistant of DD News, and journalist Dhiraj Kumar survived miraculously in the attack which lasted for nearly an hour, but their colleague Achyutanand Sahu, a camera person, was not as lucky and fell to the bullets.
The three-member crew from Delhi was in the state for coverage of next month's Assembly polls.
"There is a terror attack. We are in Dantewada for election coverage. While on the way, accompanied by the army, we were suddenly ambushed by naxals," Sharma says in the message while lying on the ground. Amidst the sound of gunfire, he is heard saying, "we are surrounded from all sides. It is difficult to survive in this situation. There are six to seven jawans."
In the message, he also says, "Mummy, If I survive, I will be thankful. Mummy, I love you. I may be killed in this attack. The situation is not good. Don't know why, despite staring at death, I feel no fear."
The attack took place near Nilawaya village, around 450 km from state capital Raipur. The crew was proceeding to Nilawaya where people haven't voted from the past 20 years, according to the police. The crew was heading to the village along with police personnel on around eight motorcycles.
Kumar said on Tuesday that ahead of Nilawaya village, Sahu was recording visuals at around 10 am and suddenly fell on the ground. The crew saw their colleague was bleeding. They realised that there was heavy firing from the forest side on left side of the road, Kumar said, adding he dived on to the road and rolled into a ditch by the roadside.
Sharma also crawled towards him. Sahu and two policemen, Sub-Inspector Rudra Pratap Singh and Assistant Constable Manglu, were killed and two other security personnel were injured in the attack. One of the injured policemen succumbed to his injuries Wednesday.
The naxals have called upon voters to boycott the Assembly polls in the state, which has 90 seats. The first phase of polls covering 18 constituencies of eight Naxal-affected districts Bastar, Kanker Sukma, Bijapur, Dantewada, Narayanpur, Kondagaon and Rajnandgaon will be held on November 12.
The remaining 72 constituencies will have polling on November 20. Counting of votes will be held on December 11.
(With inputs from agencies.)