MDMK leader's nephew sets himself on fire over Cauvery protest in Tamil Nadu

MDMK founder Vaiko's nephew set himself on fire
MDMK founder Vaiko's nephew set himself on fire

Tamil Nadu : In the middle of intense protests across Tamil Nadu over the formation of the Cauvery Management Board, MDMK founder Vaiko's nephew set himself on fire on Friday, news agency IANS reported. He was immediately rushed to a hospital, where doctors confirmed that his condition is ‘very crticial’.

A 25-year-old man in Tamil Nadu had also set him in flames on Thursday allegedly over the central and state governments' "inaction" on the Cauvery issue, police said. He suffered from 90 per cent burn injury.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko has requested people not to harm themselves and protest in a peacefully.

Mr Vaiko said Saravana Suresh, his wife's nephew, had been upset for farmers and the state. On Friday, Mr Vaiko said, Suresh, 50, left his home in Virudhunagar, over 500 km from state capital Chennai, for his morning walk. When he reached an open ground, he reportedly drenched himself with kerosene and set himself on fire, IANS reported. Spectators rushed him to the Virudhunagar government hospital with 80 per cent burns. He was later shifted to Madurai's Apollo Hospital.

"I have lost hope of his survival. All in my family are suffering... (because of the incident)," Mr Vaiko added.

Tamil Nadu political parties, farmer associations and various other groups have been campaigning against the central government for not setting up the Cauvery Management Board on an urgent basis.

On February 16, the Supreme Court had reduced Tamil Nadu's share of Cauvery water and given more water to Karnataka and ordered the centre to set up the board within six weeks. The deadline, however, expired on March 29 and no action has been taken yet. This forced people to raise their concern through various forms of protests.

People have been alleging that the ruling BJP has been "deliberately" delaying the board as it could disturb poll in Karnataka and might have an impact on the election results for the party.

Annoyed protesters even forced all Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled to be held in Chennai to shift to Pune. Superstar Rajinikanth, who announced his political entry on December last year, had indicated that arranging cricket matches when Cauvery protests are on, is an "embarrassment". 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Chennai two days ago to inaugurate DefExpo, was witnessed with black flags and black balloons by protesters.

Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan too "welcomed" PM Modi and attempted to draw his attention to the "crisis" in Tamil Nadu due to the delay on part of the centre through a video message in which he said that "people are more important than the elections".

The ruling AIADMK and the opposition parties, including DMK, had called for bandh and hunger strike earlier this month to register their protest.