Indian journalists attacked while covering hospital violence

Several journalists were attacked in an altercation with doctors and medical interns outside the Agartala Government Medical College in the state of Tripura on April 5, 2013, according to news reports. The journalists had arrived on the scene to cover allegations by family members of a patient who the relatives said had died of improper treatment, the reports said.

News reports citing police said the hospital staff vandalized property in and outside the hospital along with attacking several people, including relatives of the deceased patient. At least 27 individuals, including nine photographers, were injured, news reports said. Four of them, including photojournalist Ramakanta Dey, were taken to a private hospital for severe injuries, according to The Hindu.

Police and paramilitary forces arrived at the scene and stopped further attacks, reports said.

On April 7, 2013, police arrested three freelance journalists based on complaints filed by doctors and medical interns who alleged the journalists had manhandled the hospital staff and damaged government property. One of the journalists in custody, whose name was not immediately disclosed in news reports, was granted bail. The others, Chintu Debbarma and Tapesh Debnath, were released on bail, reports said.

Police also arrested an intern-doctor and three medical students in connection with the violence, reports said. News accounts reported that doctors and medical interns denied allegations that they had attacked journalists or relatives of the deceased patient.

The Tripura state government has ordered an investigation into the incident, news reports said.