A 14-year-old girl Wednesday sprinkled kerosene on her body and tried to set herself ablaze to protest the demolition of her home by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) officials. This is the second such incident in a week in the city after five members of a family died after setting themselves ablaze in Rajkot,protesting eviction by a cooperative society.
In this case,Surat police officials intervened in time and saved the teenage girl,a Class IX of Vidhya Sankul School in Rander locality. The police detained both the girl and her family members,including father and brother. The girl was later released as she was a minor.
The incident happened when the SMC officials went to Ekta Nagar slums in Rander Zone area in the morning to carry out the demolition. As the slum-dwellers were protesting,the girl,on her way back from school,noticed her mother lying unconscious on the main door of her house which has been demolished.
The girl went inside her house and doused herself with kerosene. However,the security guards of the SMC and police officials intervened before the girl could act further.
Her father and other residents tried to stop the police,who were taking the girl to the police station. Later,they were also detained.
Rander Zone executive engineer D M Jariwala said,For the last three months,we had been giving reminders,asking them to cooperate with us. We had also told them that we would give EWS quarters but they refused to accept. There are 10 commercial shops and 66 huts in Ekta Nagar slums and we have demolished some of the shanties while all the commercial shops have already been demolished. We are working on the redevelopment scheme. The land of Ekta Nagar is owned by the SMC. We will continue the demolition work for the remaining huts from Thursday onwards.
A few days ago,a couple of women also tried to immolate themselves while protesting against the SMCs demolition drive.