Indian Photo-Journalist, Tarun Sehrawat, Dies at 22


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), and its affiliates and

partners in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN), are deeply grieved

at the death on June 15 of photo-journalist Tarun Sehrawat, after he contracted

multiple infections on assignment in the Abujmarh region of India’s

Chhattisgarh state.


Sehrawat was on assignment with the weekly news and current affairs

magazine Tehelka and with his

colleague, reporter Tusha Mittal, spent a week early in May in the thickly

forested area, believed to be among the main operational bases of the Maoist

insurgency that has been active in parts of Chhattisgarh and neighbouring

states in recent years.


Their account of life in an area that remains for the most part beyond

the media gaze was published in the print edition of the magazine dated May



Both Sehrawat and Mittal came down with severe infections and fevers at

about the same time. Mittal recovered after two weeks under intensive care but

Sehrawat was hit by a combination of jaundice, typhoid and malaria, and had

slipped into a coma. He regained consciousness early in June, but suffered a severe

cerebral haemorrhage on June 10. He died on June 15 aged 22, the cause of death

identified as cerebral malaria.


Tarun Sehrawat’s

portfolio of pictures from his final assignment in Abujmarh can be viewed here.


In mourning the loss

of a dedicated young professional, the IFJ urges the news industry to pay heed

to the imperatives of care and preparation, when assigning reporters to areas

of potential safety risk and health hazard.


“We urge renewed

attention to the code evolved by the International News Safety Institute and widely endorsed by news

industry managements”.


Titled “Surviving the

Story”, the code observes by way of preface, that the “preservation of life and

safety is paramount”.


“Staff and

freelancers equally should be made aware”, it goes on, “that unwarranted risks

in pursuit of a story are unacceptable and strongly discouraged. News

organisations are urged to consider safety first, before competitive advantage,

for journalists in hostile environments.”


The safety code requires

that “assignments to war and other danger zones must be voluntary and only

involve experienced news gatherers and those under their direct supervision.”


Employers are

responsible under the code, for providing “efficient safety equipment and

medical and health safeguards appropriate to the threat to all staff and

freelancers assigned to hazardous locations”.


“We appreciate that

Tarun Sehrawat and his colleague volunteered for this assignment and that the Tehelka team took all decisions in good

faith and the belief that an important public interest was served in getting

the story out of a region that few media persons venture into”, said the IFJ



“We urge that in

future, all such decisions be made after due deliberation over the risks and

the consequences involved”.



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