A journalist reportedly killed himself by jumping off the fourth floor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Monday.
Tarun Sisodiya, 37, a health reporter with the Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar, was admitted to AIIMS with a coronavirus infection on June 24.
Responding to the tragedy, AIIMS released a statement stating that Sisodiya had a bout of disorientation, after which he was seen by a neurologist and a psychiatrist and given medicines. “On July 6, at around 1.55 pm, Tarun ran out of the ICU ward, hospital attendants ran after him and tried to stop him. He ran to the fourth floor, broke a window pane and jumped out. He was immediately moved to the ICU in the trauma centre, but succumbed to his injuries.”
On social media, some fellow journalists said Sisodiya’s death was suspicious and sought an independent inquiry. There are screenshots circulating of purported messages sent by Sisodiya to a WhatsApp group claiming his life was in danger.
The deceased journalist’s brother, Deepak Sisodiya alleged, “He died because of the carelessness of the hospital. He was admitted in the first floor ICU. How did he get up to the fourth floor? He had told me two-three days back that he wasn’t getting proper treatment. We complained about it to the doctors there. They said he was saying so because he was stressed from being admitted in hospital."
A friend of Sisodiya’s who asked not to be named said, “Tarun was admitted in the ICU, then shifted to a ward, and then back to the ICU. He had mentioned the threat to his life in three-four WhatsApp groups. This whole thing has become very suspicious now with his death. It’s important that his death is investigated.”
Sisodiya had been treated for a brain tumour at the GB Pant Hospital in Delhi in March.
The friend further said, “A month and a half ago, Tarun called me and said the Delhi edition of Dainik Bhaskar could shut down and he would be without a job. He was worried but he was not let go and told to work from Noida.”
Navneet Gurjar, the national editor of Dainik Bhaskar, said, “He was a permanent employee of our paper and was never told to leave. He was our reporter and we will provide financial help to his family as per our rules.”
Newslaundry contacted BN Acharya, public relations officer, AIIMS, to ask for more clarity about Sisodiya’s death and the allegations that he was getting proper treatment. “We have released a press release and it is our official statement,” the PRO replied.
Sisodia is survived by his wife and two young daughters.
This is a developing story. We will update it as more information becomes available.
Update: A previous version of this story stated that Sisodia was 34 years old. This has been corrected to 37.