A week ago, K Mohanan, 56, was instructing masons at his under construction dream house at Calicut in Kerala.
On Friday, thousands of kilometers away from his home, Mohanan is battling for life at the city’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital with 98% burns.
Mohanan, uncle of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, the National Security Guard (NSG) commando who was killed in the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, set himself ablaze outside Parliament House on Thursday evening ‘to feel the pain’ his nephew must have felt at the time of his death.
Mohanan, who owns a grocery store in Calicut, told his family that he was going to Ernakulam in Kerala, to make wholesale purchases for the store.
“No one could imagine what he was up to. We are shocked to know that he hadn’t still overcome the death of Sandeep, who he was extremely close to. He would follow all his operations closely,” said K Unnikrishnan, Mohanan’s elder brother and Sandeep’s father, who was unable to recognise his younger brother inside the resuscitation room in the trauma block of RML hospital, where he is admitted.
“We were under the impression that three years was enough time to come out of the grief that Sandeep’s death gave him. Apparently, we were wrong, His wife and children are in extreme shock,” added Unnikrishnan.
The family is not able to come to terms with the fact that Mohanan could take such an extreme step, considering his two children are in crucial stages of formal education.
His 15-year-old daughter is scheduled to take her Senior School Certificate (Class 10) exam on February 14 and his 23-year-old son is pursuing Masters in Computer Applications.
“His wife is too weak to handle the shock. We are very worried,” said Unnikrishnan, who arrived with his wife from Bangalore on Friday evening.
The family does not feel Mohanan took this step because he was disappointed with the government’s inaction.
“My son was a commando and he performed his duty.
We don’t expect anything from the government. Terrorism is a national problem, not an individual’s problem,” said Unnikrishnan.
Meanwhile, Mohanan’s condition remains critical at the hospital, where he is being monitored by a multidisciplinary team of doctors.