A couple who had purportedly immolated themselves in a bid to thwart an eviction at Neyyattinkara a week ago succumbed to burns at the Government Medical College Hospital (MCH) on Monday.
The deceased was identified as Rajan, 47, of Pongil at Nellimoodu and his wife Ambili, 40. They both had sustained burns after Rajan allegedly set themselves ablaze on December 22. Efforts by doctors to rescue them came to a naught, particularly after they sustained multiple organ failure.
The incident had occurred when the Neyyattinkara police and officials of an advocate commission appointed by the Neyyattinkara Munsiff Court had gone to Rajan’s house to implement a court order. Following the court’s order to evict the family from a plot of three cents on the basis of plaint by one Vasantha in June, the authorities had made a failed attempt to remove a shed constructed by Rajan some months ago. The second attempt made on December 22 witnessed Rajan threatening to commit suicide after dousing himself and his wife in petrol. An attempt made by a police officer to snatch a lighter from his hand backfired as the couple caught fire. An assistant sub-inspector, Anil Kumar, also sustained minor burns during an attempt to rescue them.
The couple were initially taken to the Neyyattinkara General Hospital and later to the MCH here. While Rajan succumbed to his burns in the early hours of the day, Ambili died in the evening.
Their sons, Rahul and Renjith, accused the police of leading their family to dire straits. Alleging that the police showed undue haste in evicting them, they claimed their father’s plea for delaying eviction was ignored despite informing the police that they were likely to obtain a stay order.
They buried their father’s body on the disputed land a short while before their mother breathed her last.
(Suicide prevention helpline: DISHA: 1056, 0471-2552056)