A 40-year-old man set himself on fire in a Rohini mall Friday after a mobile phone service centre allegedly refused to replace a phone he had bought over a month ago. Bhim Singh, an inverter repairman, sprayed petrol from a bottle and set himself on fire in front of the Oppo mobile service centre at M2K mall in south Rohini around 12.20 pm, police said. He is currently undergoing treatment at Baba Saheb Ambedkar hospital.
DCP (Rohini) PK Mishra said, “His statement was recorded at the hospital. He said he purchased the mobile about a month ago from a store near his house in Prahladpur. He gave it to his niece, a school student, for her online classes. After a brief period, the phone malfunctioned.”
Mishra said Singh approached the service centre for replacement on November 6 but was declined, citing policy, by the company. “He further spoke to them a few times but to no avail. Today morning, he premeditated that if his request is not addressed, he will set himself on fire,” said Mishra.
Police said that when the service centre refused to entertain his request, he went to the parking lot where his two-wheeler was parked, put petrol in a bottle, and went back in to set himself on fire.
Singh’s wife Poonam (35) told The Indian Express, “He bought the phone for his sister’s daughter. She is in class XII and needed a phone for online classes. Her mother passed away over a month ago. My husband was very attached to her and before she passed away, she had asked him to take care of her daughter. He bought the niece a phone for Rs 14,000.”
She claimed that around 10 days ago, Singh accidentally dropped the phone and it burst into flames. “It’s an expensive phone for families like ours. This disrupted the child’s studies. She hasn’t been able to attend online classes properly,” said Poonam.
On Friday morning, Singh left for work as usual, his family said. Poonam said that in the afternoon, she got a call from police informing her that Singh was in the hospital with burn injuries. “He didn’t tell me he was going to the service centre. When I spoke to him in the hospital, he said he was fed up,” said Poonam. The two have a son, who studies in class X.