Young man commits suicide to protest killing Sri Lankan Tamils

CHENNAI: Protesting the killing of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka, a young man committed suicide here on Thursday. Raising slogans condemning the support extended by the Centre to Sri Lankan armed forces, 26-year-old K. Muthukumar resorted to self-immolation in full public view at the Shastri Bhavan that houses Central Government offices in Nungambakkam. He suffered 90 per cent burns and died soon after admission to the Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital. According to police sources, the young man came to Shastri Bhavan with a can containing petrol. After distributing copies of a letter written by him to some people, he raised slogans demanding withdrawal military support to Sri Lanka and poured petrol on his body. Even before police, who were in close vicinity could intervene, Muthukumar set himself ablaze.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Nungambakkam) K.N. Murali said two police personnel who were deployed for regulating crowd at the Passport Office put off the fire using blankets. Without waiting for the ambulance, police rushed him to the hospital in the patrol vehicle. “Had not the police intervened in time, the victim could have ran into the crowd or government offices causing more damage. Many vehicles were also parked on the campus,” Mr. Murali said.

After admission, Muthukumar requested the police to inform Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief V. Prabakaran and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Tirumavalavan about his sacrifice. “When enquiries were made about his background, Muthukumar maintained that he was a Tamilian and refused to divulge his religion or community. Preliminary investigations reveal that he does not belong to any organisation or political party. He was working in a Tamil magazine as a writer and data entry operator,” a senior police official said. A native of Kolluvainallur in Tuticorin district, Muthukumar was staying at his sister’s place in Kolathur here. In his four-page letter, he placed a 14-charter demand that included protection to Sri Lankan journalists in Tamil Nadu, open apology by the Government of India to the world Tamil community and alternative employment to the kin of fishermen killed in firing. Leaders of various political parties who visited the hospital to pay homage to Muthukumar urged the Centre to bring pressure on Sri Lanka to stop the ongoing war and appealed to the young man not to take such extreme steps. As the news of the suicide spread, a group of advocates threw stones on the Bank of Ceylon causing minor damage.Police said the advocates raised slogans in front of the bank and started throwing stones.

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