The sister of a dead soldier tried to immolate herself on Wednesday at a press conference addressed by Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, and was saved by the timely intervention of a TV journalist.
Laxmi, sister of the late Harinder Singh, said she had met the minister nine times in connection with the sealing of a petrol pump awarded to the family under an official quota meant for military personnel.
A half empty bottle of kerosene and a matchbox were recovered from her as a shocked press corps looked on at the Press Information Bureau (PIB) conference hall.
Laxmi, in her 20s, said she had received assurances that prompt action would be taken in their favour but nothing has transpired.
She insisted on getting immediate relief, saying the family home in Aligarh was due to be auctioned off by a bank.
A stunned Deora admitted that he had met her several times and said action was being taken to probe Lakshmi's complaint that mafia don HP Singh had taken over her petrol pump in Jattari in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh district in collusion with Indian Oil Corp officials.
Harinder Singh was killed during Operation Parakram, when the military was deployed along the Pakistan border following the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001.