DD lensman had posted selfies hours before death

Achyuta Sahu was killed in a Naxal attack in poll-bound Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district on Tuesday

By Pheroze L. Vincent in New Delhi
  • Published 31.10.18, 2:33 AM
  • Updated 31.10.18, 7:33 AM
  • 2 mins read
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A selfie clicked by Sahu with his wife Himanchali. Agencies

Around three hours before he died in a Maoist ambush, Doordarshan cameraman Achyuta Nanda Sahu had posted on Facebook selfies with local children and colleagues and a video of a waterfall in Dantewada. His timeline on the social networking site is full of photos of almost every major assignment and family outing.

“He had just bought a camera for more than Rs 40,000 before he left for Chhattisgarh and asked me to watch out for the photos (he takes in the state) on Facebook after he returned,” his colleague Sushil Sharma told The Telegraph.

Sharma and other colleagues rushed to Sahu’s rented ground-floor apartment in Bhagwati Garden Extension — a crowded low-income area with several tailoring units in the western Delhi suburb of Dwarka. They found his wife Himanchali, in her early twenties, crying in front of the television.

Himanchali’s aunt Shashi, who lives in south Delhi, arrived soon with her husband.

“She was watching the news when she learnt of the attack. Initially we did not believe it could be him. He had called me up this morning and asked how Himanchali was doing. I visit her often and stay with her when he is away on tour. His parents had just boarded a train from Odisha to come to Delhi when they got the news. They immediately got off, as their village in Bolangir is close to Chhattisgarh,” Shashi said.

Hailing from Bolangir’s Ghusurimunda village, 34-year-old Sahu was the youngest of four brothers. He graduated from Birmaharajapur College before joining the army as a clerk.

Sahu soon quit to join Cuttack’s Biju Patnaik Film and TV Institute, where he graduated with a diploma in cinematography in 2011. He freelanced as a cameraman before joining Doordarshan in Delhi in 2012.

“He was a jovial and innovative chap. He would always try out something new with the camera and come and show me. Achyut was completely addicted to his job. He never refused an assignment and has been on three foreign assignments and accompanied the Preident to the Siachen glacier this year…. He wanted to be in Delhi,” Sahu’s boss Dindayal Deb Burma told this newspaper.

Every year Sahu would visit home during the Nuakhai harvest festival in western Odisha in September. This year he was home during the festival to cover the inauguration of Jharsuguda airport.

Sahu’s neighbour Parveen Mor consoled Himanchali until she left to take a flight to Raipur.

“They loved each other very much, and today after the news she was in shock. They moved to this house one-and-a-half years ago. He did not like the previous house they lived in nearby. His parents would visit often and his mother liked to sit on the terrace. Since we are into real estate, he had approached me to buy a house in the area. He liked Dwarka,” Parveen said.

Sahu’s Hyundai Getz car was parked in the porch, covered with dust. He had planned to gift it to his brother and buy a new car.

“It’s going to take a long time for gudiya (Himanchali) to recover, but I know she will come back. They are from Odisha but now Delhi is their home,” Parveen said.

Sahu’s rented apartment in Delhi’s Dwarka.
Sahu’s rented apartment in Delhi’s Dwarka. Agencies