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Reporters on the Job

Into Maoist Territory: Correspondent Anuj Chopra faced two journalistic challenges as he reported today's story about Maoist insurgents in northern India. The first was logistical – getting there – and relatively easy to solve.

"The roads weren't passable to cars, in fact you couldn't call them roads. Under an unforgiving sun, I rode pillion (behind the driver) on my local contact's sturdy Enfield Bullet motorbike on rocky, bone-crunching paths," says Anuj.

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"At night, we'd struggle to remain on track with the Bullet's headlights barely lighting the way," he says.

The more difficult part of the assignment was getting people to talk to him – or deciding that the story wasn't worth the risk to his interviewees. "Several locals, caught up in the violence between the Maoists and the state, refused to talk simply for fear of inviting the wrath of 'the other side.'

"At one point, I backed out of an interview with a man who said he'd been beaten by Maoists the previous day. I was told that if we spoke, he'd be 'summoned' by the Maoists in the jungle for speaking against them. The story was important, but I couldn't jeopardize his life," says Anuj.

David Clark Scott
World editor