December 06, 2005.
Hindu - Chennai,India.
MADURAI: A visually impaired man's persistent struggle to obtain a family ration card in the last five years has made him desperate. It drove him to make a vain bid to immolate himself in front of top revenue officials at the Collectorate here on Monday.
R. Selvakumar of Melaponnagaram, in his late 30s, quietly trotted into the grievance day meeting hall, clutching his white cane, assisted by his wife and accompanied by his two children. He submitted a petition to the Collector, D. Raajendiran, seeking a ration card.
The Collector summoned the personal assistant to district supply officer and directed him to provide Mr. Selvakumar with the card soon.
Mr. Selvakumar threatened to immolate himself, if the card was not given at once. So saying, he produced a matchbox and made a vain bid to set fire to his dress. However, the alert officials foiled his attempt and handed him over to the police.
Mr. Selvakumar, a lift operator at a private hospital here, claimed that he had petitioned revenue and civil supplies officials repeatedly in the last five years for the ration card. But his attempts had come to naught.
"Lack of proper response from the authorities had forced him to resort to this extreme measure," he said.
"He sent his petition in 2001 to the district officials through registered post. And it was forwarded to Chennai for printing," an official at the Collectorate told The Hindu.
The official said Mr. Selvakumar's card was among 25,000 new applications sent to Chennai for printing of new cards, which were yet to reach the Collectorate. Mr. Raajendiran directed the police not to detain him but let him off after obtaining a letter assuring that he would not attempt suicide. Mr. Selvakumar was released once he tendered the letter.
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Source URL: http://www.hindu.com/2005/12/06/stories/2005120611780100.htm.
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