A 36-year-old man set himself ablaze in Tiruttani on Tuesday after his father was booked for spreading photos of a dead lizard in tamarind offered as part of the State government’s Pongal gift hamper to ration card holders through fair price shops.
The deceased N Kuppusamy of Tiruttani was the son of Nandan, an AIADMK functionary in the locality, said police. On Tuesday evening, Kuppusamy set himself ablaze and was rushed to Tiruttani government hospital and then shifted to Chennai. However, he died without responding to treatment on Wednesday.
After the information about Kuppusamy’s death spread, his family members and AIADMK men staged a protest near the Tiruttani bus stand claiming that Kuppusamy resorted to the extreme step since his father was booked by police for spreading the photos of lizard in the Pongal hamper he received.
Police said Nandan received the package from a fair price shop at Thirukalam on January 4 and returned to the shop in the afternoon with a photo on WhatsApp claiming there was a dead lizard in the tamarind which was part of the hamper.
Shop in-charge T Saravanan allegedly asked Nandan to bring back the tamarind for inspection, but the photo reached the media and was published. Based on Saravanan’s complaint, Tiruttani police registered a case against Nandan under sections 341 and 505 (2) of IPC on January 7. While police inquired Nandan, his son’s suicide sparked the protests. When contacted, Tiruttani DSP V V Sai Praneeth refuted that Nandan was summoned for inquiry and added that he was inquired for basic information after FIR was registered. “We will initiate an investigation into both the cases,” he added.
AIADMK joint coordinator Edappadi K Palaniswami condoled the death of Kuppusamy and condemned the State government, terming suicide as the death of democracy.