Five members of a Nepalese family set themselves on fire at the office of Rajkot Municipal Corporation, leaving three of them dead. The family feared eviction from their shanty as civic body officials were planning to raze it in a drive to remove illegal structures.
The five family members, including three women, turned up at the civic body office with kerosene-filled containers around noon on Wednesday. They poured kerosene on their body and set themselves on fire protesting the proposed demolition of their house located in Raiyadhar area of the city.
Three members of the family died at Rajkot civil hospital while two others are critical and battling for their lives.
"The three dead had sustained burn injuries over 90%. Other two are also severely injured and critical," a doctor from Rajkot civil hospital said.
"We were being harassed by the civic body officials, society members and local politicians to vacate our house which they called illegal. They had threatened us to demolish it which prompted us to take this extreme step," family member Gauri told media persons after the incident.
The incident shocked the Nepalese community in Rajkot where some angry mobs burned down a state transport bus in protest. In Saurashtra, a large number of Nepalese are settled and work as security guards.
Meanwhile, the Congress party condemned the incident and blamed the RJP ruled civic body for driving people to commit self-immolation. The opposition party has also given a Rajkot-bandh call for today.
Three persons who died are: Ashaben Bharatbhai, 35, Girish Mansingh, 25, and Bharat Mansingh, 40, while Vasumati Mansingh, 60, and Rekha Mahendrabnai, 32, are critical and battling for their lives in the hospital.