A woman and her daughter, who were allegedly denied help by police on the behest of an MLA, set themselves ablaze in front of the district magistrate’s office in Kanpur on Wednesday.
Tasneem Fatima, 52, and Sahiba, 15, suffered 45% and 70% burns respectively and are undergoing treatment at the emergency wing of UHM hospital.
Kin of the victims said the two were forced to take the drastic step after the police failed to help them get their house vacated from a tenant who had not been paying rent for years.
Allegedly close to an MLA, the tenant had recently attempted to grab some other portions of their ancestral house in Chamangunj.
This had left the family run for help. One of the relatives claimed the mother-daughter duo had met top officials 17 times in the last one week only.
On Friday last, they had also visited Lucknow and threatened self-immolation at Vidhan Sabha or the chief minister's residence. However, police officials had persuaded them not to do ao and promised to get their house vacated in three days.
However, when the help didn’t come, Tasneem on Monday announced to kill herself in two days. On Wednesday, they reached the court compound soaked in kerosene and set themselves ablaze near the DM office.
Ironically, the police personnel stationed primarily to prevent them from doing so could not get a whiff of their arrival. A lawyer Raghav Awasthi and a woman constable Pramila also got burn injuries while trying to douse the fire. “The family was left with no other option.
We were running from one office to another, one officer to another but never got heard,” said Zafar Hayat Hashmi, son of Tasneem Fatima. Hashmi's sister Haseen said the police had taken her brother into custody.
ADM (city) Anoop Srivastava denied the family ever came to him or any other officer. “It has come to light that they did go to Chamangunj police but never came to us,” he said after the incident.