The police identified the victim as Ramasamy (50) of Kannankurichi in Salem. He was the night watchman in inspector Manoharan’s house, which is under construction. The inspector serves in Krishnagiri district. Police sources said that Ramasamy used to sleep at the construction site during the night.
About a week ago he noticed two men trying to steal construction material from the site and chased them away. Police sources said that Ramasamy informed the authorities, following which, night patrolling in that locality had been tightened.
Ramasamy told the police that two men doused him with petrol and set him ablaze in a fraction of a second before he could identify them. Neighbours heard his cries for help and were horrified to see him burning and rushed to his rescue. They put off the flames and rushed him to the Salem government hospital, where he is undergoing intensive treatment.
Hasthampatti police have registered a case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code. Further investigation is on.
This is the second such incident of a man being burnt alive in Salem City in as many weeks. Two weeks ago, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadre Kamaraj was set ablaze when he was sleeping in a bus shelter on Peramanur Road. He died on the spot. The accused are yet to be arrested.