A 30-year-old National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) leader, who had set himself on fire at Ramnagar over alleged police highhandedness, died at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Monday night
Rohit Pandey, the president of the NSUI’s Ramnagar unit, had climbed a water tank on November 4 and threatened to self-immolate in protest against the arrest of a fellow union member, Manoj Kumar, following a skirmish with members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the Maldhan Chaur area of the town, 35km from Nainital.
The threat turned into a tragedy when he doused himself with petrol and lit a matchstick, which left him writhing with third-degree burns. Pandey was rushed to Delhi and admitted to the burns unit of Safdarjung Hospital where he died around 11pm on Monday.
His body will be taken to Ramnagar for the last rites.
The death prompted the administration on Tuesday to beef up security in the township to avert any backlash. Naintial district magistrate Deepak Rawat and senior superintendent of police Senthil Abudai are in Ramnagar to oversee the security arrangements.
“We have got additional personnel to help the local police prevent any untoward incidents,” Ramnagar station house officer Kailash Panwar said.
Pandey’s fiery protest was the fallout of a clash during student union polls at a government college where NSUI leaders had allegedly torched motorcycles belonging to ABVP members. The incident led to the arrest of NSUI member Kumar.
Chief minister Harish Rawat had ordered an inquiry into the incident and assured action against officials found guilty in preventing the college violence.