A 36-year-old woman set herself and her 12-year-old son ablaze, while her daughter and husband were away from home near Sarakki Gate, J P Nagar I phase, Monday morning.
They have been admitted to a hospital and their condition is said to be critical.
The victims are Varalakshmi and Jayanth. Police said Varalakshmi was married to Chandrashekar, a kerosene dealer.
The couple had two children – Vidya, 17, studying I PU at a nearby college and Jayanth, studying in class VI at a nearby private school.
Chandrashekar had been to Male Mahadeshwara Hills and Vidya to college when the incident occurred. Family sources said Varalakshmi had discouraged Jayanth from going to school on Monday and he had stayed back.
The reason for the extreme step is not known. Family sources said she was mentally unstable and was being treated for the same for the past couple of months.
“Suddenly, we heard loud cries for help from the house. As we rushed there, we found the door locked from inside. We saw the mother and son on fire.
Precious time was lost by the time we broke open the door. We rushed them to the hospital,” said Manoj, a neighbour. Suresh, a friend of Chandrashekar, said: “I rushed to the spot and the two were being shifted to hospital. Doctors say their chances of survival are slim,” he said.
Rudresh, Varalakshmi's younger brother, said, “She was a bit mentally unstable and was being treated for that. But we are clueless as to what led her to commit the act,” he said.
In her statement to the police, Varalakshmi said she faced no harassment from her husband. But she was disoriented to say why she took the extreme step.
When Deccan Herald tried to speak to Varalakshmi, she said in a feeble voice that she did not know what she was doing at that moment.
Asked why she set her son ablaze, the woman said she was worried that nobody would look after him well after her demise. Dr Ramesh, the doctor in-charge of the burns ward at Victoria Hospital, said: “The condition of both of them is extremely critical. The mother has suffered 71 per cent and the boy 70 per cent third degree burns,”
When contacted, Dr C R Chandrashekhar, senior professor, Department of Psychiatry, Nimhans said: “I don't know the details of this particular case. So, I can’t comment. But this seems to be a case of schizophrenia or manic depression.
When a person suffers from depression, he/she tends to be bogged down by negative thoughts that may lead to suicidal tendencies. This may also lead them to kill their immediate kin. We term it extended suicide in medical parlance. This can be treated with proper psychiatric care.”