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Family immolation: Death toll rises to 3, Rajkot shuts down

Rajkot, Apr 4, 2013, (PTI): 18:06 IST
 A protester self-immolates at the municipal corporation office at Rajkot in Gujarat. Photo by Reuters.
Two more persons died of their burn injuries taking the death toll to three in the yesterday's tragedy in which five members of a Nepalese family set themselves ablaze to protest against a drive to evict them from their house.

Bharat Mansingh (40) had died yesterday soon after being admitted to the Rajkot civil hospital while his wife Asha (35) and brother Girish (27) succumbed to their burn injuries late last night.

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

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

Bharat along with his other family members reached RMC's central zone office where they poured kerosene and set themselves ablaze.

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 covered 900 sq yard common plot and also constructed a house illegally.

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, police have started investigation 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," Rajkot 'A' Division Police Inspector M N Rathod, who is the investigating officer, told PTI.

"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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