A home guard has been suspended for allegedly hitting Hindustan Times reporter Biswa Kalyan Purkayastha with a stick when he went to deliver food to his sister-in-law who was admitted to a government hospital in Assam’s Cachar district on Saturday night, police said. . .
Purkayastha said that his sister-in-law gave birth to a boy on November 11 and was being treated for post-pregnancy related issues at Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH). Doctors on Saturday evening suggested the family members to give them soft food. “Around 11.20pm, I went to SMCH for food, where I was treated by several men in uniform. I asked them to behave well when one of them started hitting me with a stick,” he alleged.
On Saturday night, he underwent a medical examination at Shibilka Hospital in Silchar, and the doctors on duty said that they found five serious injuries on his body. On Sunday afternoon, Purkayastha filed a first information report (FIR) at the Silchar Sadar police station and the police immediately registered a case.
Superintendent of police (SP) of Cachar district, Numal Mahatta along with SP Subrata Sen and additional SP (crime) Kalyan Kumar Das rushed to Silchar Civil Hospital on Saturday night to meet the injured journalist.
On Sunday night, the SP told the media that ensuring the security of journalists is one of their priorities. “We have instructions from the chief minister to ensure adequate security for journalists. We are taking proper steps so that such an incident does not happen again,” he said.
Police officers who knew about this matter said that the suspect, named S Deb, was arrested and suspended. An officer of the Ghungor Police Station who refused to disclose his name said that the suspect was identified and arrested on Saturday night. “We are investigating the matter and appropriate action will be taken against him,” the official said.
President of Silchar Press Club, Sankar Dey condemned the attack on the journalist and said that they condemn similar attacks on anyone with equal strength.
“We want a proper investigation and strict action against the accused home guards. We will not tolerate attacks on journalists but we would condemn such an attack on anyone else,” he said.
SMCH Principal Dr Babul Kumar Bezbarua on Sunday morning called the house guards and asked them to improve their behavior. He said that the SMCH authorities requested the police to remove the accused from the hospital.
“We are trying to build a good relationship between the common people and the hospital, but all our efforts become futile in view of these incidents,” he said, regretting the attack that killed the journalist.
There have been complaints against SMCH about misconduct by doctors and other staff. A week later, a doctor allegedly kicked a pregnant woman and was attacked by family members.
Senior journalist Pranananda Das tweeted, “Horrifyingly, writer Bishwa Kalyan Purakaystha was brutally assaulted by Home Guards inside SMCH campus. We need urgent action.”
Professor Joydeep Das from Silchar wrote on social media, “This is another bad example of flagrant violation of citizens’ dignity. Biswa Kalyan Purkayastha happened to be my student. I condemn the attack.