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Immolation toll rises to 3, Rajkot shuts down

April 04, 2013 16:17 IST

Five members of a Nepalese family set themselves ablaze in Rajkot, Gujarat on Wednesday to protest against a drive to evict them from their house.
On Thursday, two more people died of their burn injuries, taking the death toll to three in the tragedy.

Bharat Mansingh, 40, had died on Wednesday, soon after being admitted to the Rajkot civil hospital while his wife Asha, 35, and brother Girish, 27, succumbed to their burn injuries on Wednesday night.

Two others -- Rekha, 30, and Vasumati, 60 -- are battling for their life, hospital officials said.

Meanwhile, trading units, shops and educational institutes remained closed on Thursday in support of a bandh call given by the Congress to protest the suicide attempt made by the family at Rajkot Municipal Corporation's central zone office.

Bharat, along with his other family members, set themselves ablaze near the RMC's central zone office. The victims took the extreme step as they feared evacuation from their home after losing their case.

The family was given permission to construct a small hut in the common plot of Chhotu Nagar Cooperative Housing Society in Raiya Dhar area by the society members. But the family took over a 900 sq yard common plot and also constructed a house illegally.

The society members then went to a civil court, which stated that the construction was illegal and the family should be evicted from the plot.

Opposition Congress alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled corporation was behind the plight of the family, which forced them to take the extreme step and gave a call for bandh.

City Mayor Janak Kotak announced a compensation of Rs five lakh for the family. The Congress has announced a compensation of rupees one lakh for them.

The city observed a peaceful bandh and the police beefed up security arrangements by deploying additional four companies of the State Reserve Police to avoid any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, the police have started investigations in the case and registered a complaint against five residents of the housing society.

"We have taken the statements of two persons who died late last night before they succumbed to their burn injuries. We have also taken the statements of two other injured persons," said Rajkot A Division Police Inspector M N Rathod, who is the investigating officer.

"Five persons of the Chotunagar co-operative housing society have been named as accused. One of them, a 65-year-old person, has been hospitalised while four others have locked their homes and left for unknown locations," he said.

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