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Mystery over immolation bid

A MASSIVE rally held by anti-quota medicos at the Ramlila Ground in New Delhi on Saturday took a dramatic turn when a man tried to immolate himself outside the ground.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 13:59 IST

A MASSIVE rally held by anti-quota medicos at the Ramlila Ground in New Delhi on Saturday took a dramatic turn when a man tried to immolate himself outside the ground.

Rishi Raj Gupta (24), a gutkha seller, doused himself with kerosene and set himself on fire at 8 pm. Policemen rushed him to hospital, where he was treated for 30 to 40 per cent burns. He was said to be stable.

Police said Gupta is from Khagariya in Bihar and had come to Delhi five years ago after passing Class 12. “As per initial investigations, this has nothing to with the reservation protests and was pre-planned,” said DCP Neeraj Thakur.

The striking medicos were taken aback. “We don’t know what actually happened,” said Dr Sarangi, of Youth for Equality (YFE). “This man is not part of our rally and we have no idea why he tried to immolate himself,” added Jitendra Singhla, an agitating resident doctor.

Even as news came in that other institutions like IIT-Kanpur had joined the strike, medicos at the rally decided that their strike would continue.

The Dilli Aao, Desh Bachao Andolan was attended by 10,000 people. News of another self-immolation bid came in from Cuttack in Orissa. But it wasn’t clear whether post-graduate medical student Surendra Mohanty’s act was a protest against reservations. Mohanty was stopped just before he could set himself alight. A close friend said the incident had nothing to do with the agitation.


Arjun gives final touches to draft bill
HRD minister Arjun Singh and top ministry officials were closeted for hours on Saturday in a bid to finalise the revised draft on 27 per cent quota for OBCs.

Health ministry for increase in intake
The health ministry is in overdrive to persuade striking doctors to go back to work. It has sent out letters to medical college heads asking them to assess their requirements in order to increase seats to accommodate the 27 per cent reservation for OBCs next year.

First Published: May 28, 2006 13:59 IST