33-year-old sets himself ablaze after house eviction attempt in Chennai

Rajkumar had been living with his mother in a small thatched house in Netaji Nagar.
Image used for representational purpose
Image used for representational purpose

CHENNAI: A 33-year-old man from Kottakarai in Gummidipoondi set himself on fire after revenue officials attempted to evict him from a house. The man, Rajkumar, sustained 50% burns and is currently undergoing treatment. Officials said the land patta was registered in another person’s name.

Rajkumar had been living with his mother in a small thatched house in Netaji Nagar. The house was allegedly built on a land parcel which was allegedly intended for use as an approach way for a nearby apartment. “Since the approach way was blocked by the house, we were unable to coordinate rescue efforts for a cluster of apartments during Cyclone Michaung. A notice for eviction was issued soon after the floods,” an official said.

However, Rajkumar had appealed to the Ponneri sub-collector against the notice and an inquiry was taken up. After reviewing the documents, his appeal was turned down since it was a private land and the authorities concerned maintained that he could be evicted based on disaster management preparedness.

“We carried out inspections based on complaints from residents of the flat behind his house. The patta was not in his name and he was given more than six months to relocate,” said an official. They also said that Rajkumar owned another house nearby for which his family had the patta and other documents, but still, they were not willing to vacate the house at Netaji Nagar. Tiruvallur district police is probing the case.

(Assistance for those having suicidal thoughts is available on TN’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050)

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