CHENNAI: An autorickshaw driver immolated himself while a youngster from Andhra Pradesh died of cardiac arrest on Wednesday due to alleged highhandedness of police on bandobust duty at the Vardaraja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram. The temple has been witnessing huge crowds for the last few days, since the holy idol of Athi Varadar was taken out of the temple pond after a gap of 40 years.
While the Kancheepuram police have denied any role in both incidents, locals attributed the deaths to misbehaviour of the police personnel. The first incident took place at around 1 pm, when police stopped share-auto driver Kumar (35) at the barricades placed around the temple. Entry into roads to the temple had been restricted.
An argument broke out after the police refused to allow Kumar’s auto inside the premises. An eyewitness said Kumar walked away, leaving his vehicle behind. “While police removed his vehicle, Kumar returned with a bottle of petrol and immolated himself,” said the eyewitness. Kumar succumbed at the government hospital. It’s not clear if he was verbally abused.
Around 3pm, Sakthi Aakash (23), from Andhra Pradesh, was taking a selfie with his mother and brother at the temple premises when a woman cop, attempting to clear the crowd, allegedly hit him twice with a lathi. Eyewitness Mani Shankar said Sakthi collapsed immediately. He was rushed to the hospital, but was declared brought dead.
If in distress call 104 for the TN health department helpline or 044-24640050 for the Sneha suicide helpline.