KOCHI: Two days after a mentally ill person threw petrol at a tea shop at Pachalam which led to a fire, one of the four victims succumbed to high-degree burns here on Friday. The deceased, Rejin Das, 34, a native of Ezhupunna, was an employee of Lourdes Hospital at Pachalam. According to the police, he had sustained 75 per cent burns.
“Rejin breathed his last in the hospital’s ICU around 5am. After completing the autopsy and other inquest procedures, the body was handed over to the relatives before afternoon. The last rites were held at his residence in the evening,” said V B Anas, SI, Ernakulam North.Rejin was working with the ESI department of the hospital. “After his wife joined the hospital as a nurse, they got a house on rent and settled in Pachalam around eight months ago. Many who know him said he was a very jovial person. Though the attack was not directed at him, he unwittingly became a victim just because he was present at there,” the officer said.
The incident occurred on Wednesday night when Philip, 64, an autorickshaw driver who resided in the area, threw petrol at the tea shop run by P V Pankajakshan near the Shanmughapuram temple. Pankajakshan, who is stable now, was admitted to a private hospital after sustaining 20 per cent burns. Two others who were present at the shop suffered minor injuries.
Though Philip had targeted the security man at a nearby ATM, the latter escaped unhurt. Later, Philip set his autorickshaw ablaze and immolated himself. “The woman with whom Philip was staying told us that he had been disturbed and unable to sleep for the past few days. The tea stall is located near the autorickshaw parking area. Once Philip saw a group of people at the tea stall crack a joke. He thought he was the subject of the joke. Ever since, he had been nursing a grudge against the group and wanted to take revenge. He had also been taking medication for mental illness,” a police official said. “As the accused committed suicide, we will file a final report at the court on completion of the probe,” he said.