Contractor attempts self-immolation at joint fast



New Delhi: A 30-year-old contractor, supporting Team Anna, on Sunday attempted self-immolation at the joint fast venue of Anna Hazare and yoga guru Ramdev after he was not allowed to pose questions to the activists.

Salim Ali, who hails from Bulandshahr, wanted to ask Ramdev about his escape from Ramlila Maidan last year during police action in women's clothes and Hazare about his support to MNS leader Raj Thackeray, police said.

Ali, who initially claimed that he was a volunteer and donning an India Against Corruption T-shirt and cap, surfaced at the media enclosure of the protest site at Jantar Mantar around 12:15 PM when a close aide of Ramdev was speaking on black money.

He started speaking through his megaphone demanding that he be heard by both Hazare and Ramdev but was prevented by Ramdev's volunteers.

While he was being pacified, he alleged that he was mistreated by prominent Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal. He then pulled out a bottle of kerosene and poured on himself. While he took a lighter to set himself on fire, the volunteers and some media persons snatched the lighter from him.

He was heard saying that he would commit suicide at home if he was not heard by Hazare and Ramdev or allowed to commit suicide at Jantar Mantar. He was whisked away by police.

However, later when he spoke to police, he told them he wanted to ask questions from both Hazare and Ramdev.

"He told us that he wanted to ask Ramdev how he can talk about Bhagat Singh always when he himself had run away from his protest site in women's clothes. He also wanted to ask Hazare about his support to Thackeray whom he alleged was against north Indians," a senior police official said.

He said they have counselled him and he will be released after medical examination.

PTI