news Wednesday, April 08, 2015 - 05:30
Nitin B | The News Minute | April 6, 2015 | 12:35 pm IST For Venkanna, a journalist in Telangana, April 4 started off like any other day. But by the end of it, he was receiving praises from citizens, police and journalists all over. A Telugu newspaper stringer who lives in Arvapally mandal in the Nalgonda district of Telangana, the reporter-cum-photographer who generally reports on agriculture and development issues, is now in the news for taking the only picture of two armed SIMI terrorists, hours before they were gunned down by Telangana police. Around 6:30 am on Saturday, some journalists found out that police had been tipped off about two people moving close to Arvapally with weapons, the same duo suspected of being involved in a shootout on Thursday at Suryapet in the same district. Two policemen were killed and three were injured in that shootout. "I got a tip from police sources and I rushed to the spot without delay. I saw two men with one of them holding a gun and a smaller pistol. I had my camera in my bag and quickly clicked a couple of photos," Venkanna toldĀ The News Minute. (The SIMI operatives after stealing a bike at gun point.) "I was across the street and one of the gunmen saw me click the photograph and pointed the revolver at me (while holding a carbine weapon in his other hand) and threatened to shoot. Right then, a bus crossed the road and came in between (us). A police siren was heard and and they had no option, so they got on the bike and fled," Venkanna adds. However, Venkanna also confesses that he did not know at that point of time that he would be the only person to capture pictures of the terrorists, while they were alive. The two were gunned down by the police, a couple of hours later at Janakipuram. "I was lucky as my timing worked out perfectly or the SIMI operatives would have shot me or taken my camera at gunpoint," he says. Venkanna has been a journalist for 20 years and was a freelance reporter for a while before teaming up with the current newspaper he works for. "It was not my beat but still it was my journalist instinct that made me rush to the spot," he says. The Telangana police had been searching for the duo across the state, thinking they were part of a gang from Uttar Pradesh. After the encounter on Saturday, it was established that Aijajuddeen and Aslam were part of the ā€œAbu Faisalā€ gang. The gang members had escaped from district jail in Khandwa on October 1, 2013. (Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma inspecting the bodies of the terrorists at the encounter spot) Members of the gang have been on the run for past eighteen months reportedly moving from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra and then Uttar Pradesh to AP and Telangana. They were involved in the murder of one Madhya Pradesh police officer in 2009, a blast on a train at a Chennai railway station which led to one death in May 2014 and failed terror strike at two police stations in Pune in July of the same year. The duo had earlier opened fire on the police while a police party was questioning them at Suryapet after de-boarding them from a bus coming to Hyderabad from Vijayawada. The Telangana police has now stepped up its search and is investigating the possibility of more terrorists in the state. Venkanna who has just reached Hyderabad on Monday is being awarded for his bravery and is being given a reward of Rs 10,000 by the Telangana Union of Working Journalists (TUWJ) and Rs 15,000 from theĀ chairman of the Telangana Press Academy. Watch the video below on YouTube by clicking the re-direct link shown. Video of SzVPa17LAxA Ā  (All Images provided by Venkanna) Read:Ā Sub-inspector succumbs to injuries: He had a baby the day he was shot by SIMI operatives Ā