KARWAR: A man who set himself ablaze to protest the eviction of vendors from a market run by the Bhatkal town municipal council (TMC) died in Manipal hospital late Friday night. Ramachandra Naik’s body was brought to Bhatkal on Saturday morning and the district administration stepped up security anticipating trouble.
A holiday was declared for schools and colleges in the town and many commercial establishments remained closed. More than 750 police personnel are guarding the streets of Bhatkal for the last three days.
Naik had a shop in the TMC complex and set himself ablaze on Thursday. He had suffered more than 50 per cent burns. After his self immolation, tension prevailed in the town and protesters pelted stones at the TMC office.
On Saturday morning, Naik’s body was brought to Bhatkal amid tight security. Local vendors gathered and demanded that his body be kept at the TMC complex. But, police denied them permission and took the body to Naik’s house.
Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Hemant Nimbalkar, Uttara Kannada SP Vinayak Patil and other top police officials were on the spot. Deputy Commissioner S S Nakul said the district administration was helpless as they launched the eviction drive as per the direction of the High Court.
Hundreds of people took part in Naik’s funeral procession. Some of them demanded that the body should be kept for paying homage at the TMC building. But, the police denied permission. Amid tight police security, the body was taken to the burial ground for cremation.
Nakul said the administration extended help for Naik’s cremation. When asked about compensation, he said, “I have written to the government to give compensation to Naik’s family on humanitarian grounds.”