A Special Correspondent
L. Mani (48), belonging to the fishermen community at Nallavadu near here, who attempted immolation in front of the Cuddalore Collectorate on Monday afternoon and suffered over 70 per cent burns, died in the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital in Chennai at night.
Earlier, he had been taken to the Cuddalore headquarters government hospital for first aid and then referred to the Chennai hospital.
It is learnt that he was earlier acting as the Cuddalore union coordinator of the Naam Tamilar Katchi and later, became content with the membership of the party.
Soon after the Tamil organisations and certain political parties staged a black flag demonstration in front of the Cuddalore Head Post Office against Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr. Mani came near the Collectorate about 12.40 p.m., doused himself with kerosene and set himself ablaze. The shopkeepers in the vicinity poured water on him and alerted the police.
In a partly typewritten and partly handwritten note left at the spot, Mr. Mani said that on the day when the US was moving a resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council against the Sri Lankan Government for its war crimes, it was a right decision on his part to sacrifice his life for the cause of the Tamil brethren in the island nation.
He said that the sacrifice of his life should be considered as the first vote for the Tamils to get a separate Tamil Eelam.
He also said that for the past five years, he had been fighting in a democratic manner against the corrupt officials who turned a Nelson’s eye to the substandard construction of the permanent houses built for the tsunami-affected people in Cuddalore district.
Actually, he planned to observe a fast-unto-death in this regard either in front of the Madras High Court or the Cuddalore court. But as he apprehended impediments, he had decided to end his life, hoping that after his death a solution could be found to this vexatious issue. He noted that the moral responsibility, if he died, should be shared by the former District Collector, a contractor who built the permanent houses, and a High Court lawyer who exploited him.
Mr. Mani also observed that his patriotism had forced him to give up overseas jobs, including the one with a shipping company, and return to India on August 15, 2000 (Independence Day).
He had tattooed the National Flag and the word “Indian” on his right shoulder. He had volunteered to donate his eyes and body organs after his death. So far he had donated blood for 26 times. It may be noted that he had been making several representations to the officials, drawing their attention to the substandard quality of the tsunami houses.
Once he picked a quarrel on the issue with a woman staff member of the District Rural Development Agency and beat her up with footwear for which he was jailed from October 15, 2012 to October 19. Later, he was enlarged on bail.
Some more harassment cases are said to be pending against him in the Reddychavadi police station.