Emotions ran high at three public hearings held across Indore on Tuesday, with complainants threatening to harm themselves unless the authorities took steps to resolve their problems at the earliest.
In the first incident, a woman tried to immolate herself before municipal officials during a public hearing at the Indore Municipal Corporation headquarters because “they didn’t seem to care for her grievances”.
Officials said Shweta, a resident of Nandanagar, had come to the public hearing armed with a bottle of kerosene. However, corporation staffers managed to overpower the woman before she could pour the fuel over herself and attempt immolation.
Shweta told mediapersons that she was at odds with her neighbour, who constructed an illegal wall outside her house. “I brought the issue to the municipal officials’ notice on several occasions, but to no avail,” she said.
She was handed over to the police, who registered a case of attempted suicide.
In the second instance, a 72-year-old army veteran sought permission from the district collector to kill himself if the administration was unable to solve his problem.
Kaniya Lal made the request during the weekly public hearing held by the top government official.
The Naib subedar, who hails from Sanawar district, said he had sold his 5.24-acre agricultural property in Jankhya tehsil of Sanwer district to Venkatesh Industrial Pvt. Ltd in November 2014. He and the company owner, Yogesh Jain, agreed upon a sum of Rs 2.96 crore for the land transaction.
Yogesh’s father Roshanlal Jain paid 50% of amount – Rs 1.48 crore – through cheque after registering the property in his name, and promised to pay the remaining sum by March 2016. However, 10 months on, the owner wants to pay only in demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
“The administration should either help me take back my property, or give me permission to commit suicide,” said Lal, who has served in the Indian army for 24 years.
Collector P Narhari said he was looking into the matter, and would resolve it in accordance with the law.
In another instance, a woman rammed her head on the desk of the sub-divisional magistrate while urging him to help her recover property seized by her adopted son. Bhagwati Bai, a resident of Rajendra Nagar, said the youngster had turned her out and converted their residence into a cannabis-manufacturing unit.
In the fourth instance, a man in his thirties threatened to immolate himself in front of Rajwada Palace if police failed to address his grievance.
Sumit Verma, a resident of Nipaniya, presented himself before deputy inspector general Harinarayanachari Mishra during the weekly public grievance hearing and complained that certain anti-social elements were trying to encroach upon his property in Harikrushna Vihar Colony by using bogus registry documents. He said efforts over the last 11 months to recover his property had gone in vain, and suicide was now the only option before him.
Verma claimed that he took matter to the district collector, where he was informed that his detractors’ registry was bogus. He then registered a complaint on the chief minister’s helpline and even forwarded a letter to the prime minister office’s, but to no avail.
“Now I can only hope that the DIG pressurises the police officers concerned into providing me succour. Otherwise, I will be left with no choice but to immolate myself on Republic Day,” he said.
Mishra said the matter has been forwarded to the police stations concerned for relevant action. “During preliminary investigations, we found that a case has been registered against one of the three people who encroached upon Verma’s property. He is absconding. We had asked Lasudiya police to arrest that man,” he added.
However, the DIG took exception to Verma making suicide threats before the police. “It’s not appropriate to pressurise any administrative officer in this manner. If anything like this happens in the future, I will take action against the person concerned,” he said.