A man set himself on fire near the entrance of the Secretariat on Monday, creating panic among the public and the staff who were passing by. He succumbed to burns at Kilpauk Medical College late in the night.
According to sources, around 12.40 pm, the man, later identified as Gurunathan, a native of a village near Tindivanam, set himself ablaze after pouring kerosene over him. Police personnel, after a brief struggle, managed to put out the flames and rushed him to the KMC in an ambulance. Doctors said Gurunathan was admitted in a highly critical condition as he had suffered nearly 80 per cent burns.
In his statement to the police, Gurunathan said he took the extreme step as the Villupuram police did not properly investigate a rape complaint lodged by his wife. “He claims that in 2011, two persons raped his wife and that the police are refusing to take action against them. He said that he wanted to immolate himself in front of the Secretariat to bring this to the attention of higher officials. He had come from Tindivanam only this morning by bus, got down at the bus stop on Rajaji Road and walked up to the entrance,” said a police official.
However, when contacted by Express, Villupuram Superintendent of Police S Manogaran denied Gurunathan’s allegations.
“After I heard about the incident, I inquired with the police station concerned and personally went through the petitions he had given since 2011. All the petitions are contradictory. In one petition, he states that his wife raped him and wanted action against her. Our inquiries with the local residents in Pudupakkam village revealed that Gurunathan was a mentally unstable person,” the SP said.
Villupuram police said that Gurunathan was married thrice, but was living alone after all three women deserted him. The Fort police have recorded the statements of Gurunathan and are investigating.