Lanka protests: 4th suicide in less than a fortnight

Pro-Lankan Tamil agitation claimed yet another life on Sunday when an elderly man immolated himself here. With this,four persons belonging to different political outfits....

Written by Express News Service | Chennai | Published: February 10, 2009 11:04 pm

Pro-Lankan Tamil agitation claimed yet another life on Sunday when an elderly man immolated himself here. With this,four persons belonging to different political outfits and age groups have set themselves ablaze in less than a fortnight.

Ameresan,a 65-year-old resident of Chennai,said to be a DMK man,set himself ablaze on Sunday night,after distributing pamphlets and raising slogans supporting the Tamils in Lanka and also against the Sri Lankan Government. He was rushed to the Government Stanley Medical College with over 80 per cent burns. He was declared dead on Sunday night itself.

As protestors and leaders of the Opposition-backed Sri Lankan Tamil Protection Movement gathered at the hospital premises,police personnel refused them entry,leading to a road blockade for a brief while.

Like in the case of the last two suicides,the police attempted to downplay the incident,claiming that family and health-related problems prompted him to take this extreme step. Leaders of the SLTPM criticised the action,warning the state Government against belittling the sacrifices,even as they urged the public to desist from such attempts.

Political suicides in support of the Lankan Tamils began with Muthukumar setting himself ablaze. In the case of the second person,Ravi from Dindigul,the police had claimed that many cases were pending against him.

While he kept silent on the suicides so far,on Sunday,Chief Minister M Karunanidhi issued a statement hailing the sacrifice made by Ravichandran of Myladuthurai,a Congress functionary who became the third ‘martyr’.

The authorities had suspected that the first immolation was a planned operation by the LTTE to bring about a ceasefire so that they can regroup. However,the third suicide — that of Ravichandran — shattered the notion that only pro-LTTE people were ready to take the extreme step. Ravichandran was a Congress ward secretary at his home village,Sirkazhi.

The leaders of SLTPM rehave reiterated such acts.

Instead,the youth should organise rallies to highlight the issue,said PMK founder S Ramadoss and MDMK general secretary Vaiko,two prominent leaders of the movement.

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