Disturbed by the alleged harassment of his elder sister by her seniors at her workplace, Prashant Sandu Lahane, 30, committed suicide by self-immolation on Tuesday, on the Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation (UMC) premises.
He died at the spot screaming about the harassment to his sister. A security officer sustained burn wounds. Lahane is survived by his wife and a 3-year-old daughter. An offence has been registered against SB Gaikwad, education officer, Ulhasnagar municipal school board, Ganesh Shimpi, secretary to the Ulhasnagar municipal commissioner, a teacher, Shubhangi Salunkhe, and Shiv Sena leader Chandrakant Bodare.
Anil Baagalkot, assistant commissioner of police, Ulhasnagar, said, “Around 9.45am, Lahane entered the UMC premises, doused himself in petrol and after setting himself ablaze, rushed toward the main entrance. Security personnel stopped him from entering the office.”
Lahane’s sister Sangeeta was appointed as a co-ordinator with the UMC in 2004, through the employment exchange as she was handicapped. On July 27, she wrote a complaint letter to the commissioner of police, UMC commissioner and the education department, alleging that she was harassed physically, mentally and sexually by the education officer.
“Sangeeta said she would commit suicide in front of the UMC. Three days ago, the police and UMC officers assured her appropriate steps will be taken, then why did her brother do this?” Baagalkot said.
Sangeeta had complained that while she was still working on a temporary basis, others appointed without following recruitment rules were made permanent within a year or two. She blamed education officer SB Gaikwad and some politicians for this.
Gaikwad refuted the allegations saying there was no question of harassment as Sangeeta’s department did not come under him. He said permanent placement of staff was the state government’s responsibility, not his.