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In Bangalore, journalists attacked outside courthouse

A group of lawyers attacked journalists outside a courthouse in Bangalore today. Here, a reporter helps an injured police officer. (AP)

New York, March 2, 2012--Ten Indian journalists were reported injured today after being attacked by a group of lawyers outside a court in the city of Bangalore, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attack and calls on authorities to conduct an immediate investigation.

The lawyers attacked the journalists with stones, iron chairs, and flowerpots for almost an hour, according to news reports. The violence subsided only after police officials began to use tear gas to disperse the crowd, news reports said. The journalists, most of whom were TV camera operators, as well as seven lawyers and about 30 policemen, were all injured, news reports said.

The journalists were reporting on a high-profile trial taking place that day at the courtroom that involved a former minister and allegations of illegal mining, news reports said.

Motives for the attack varied. Some news accounts reported that the lawyers were angered by what they considered to be one-sided coverage of a protest in January that was triggered when a lawyer was detained by the local police. But some news outlets said the dispute occurred after the lawyers were angered by television crews blocking the entrance to the courts.

Bangalore media interviewed several local government officials who expressed outrage against the attack, which was widely broadcast in the region. Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda said a judicial inquiry would identify the culprits of the attack, news reports said.

"The government must follow through on punishing the people responsible for attacking journalists," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "Mere expressions of outrage must be followed by concrete police action to bring prosecutions against those responsible."

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