Chennai: 60-year-old man sets himself ablaze to stop eviction drive – The Indian Express

Chennai News

A 60-year-old man in Chennai attempted self-immolation Sunday while protesting against the state government’s encroachment eviction drive which has been going on for the last ten days on the banks of the Buckingham canal.

The police said the residents of Govindasamy Nagar, where the incident happened, have been resisting the water resources department’s eviction drive seeking time to move Supreme Court.

The man who set himself ablaze has been identified as Kannaiyan, a street vendor. The police said that Kannaiyan suffered severe burn injuries and continues to be critical in a city hospital. The incident led to a law and order situation, and authorities temporarily suspended the eviction drive.

“The issue of encroachments on public land was evolving for several years at this place and it worsened after 2009. There are about 253 families who live on the public land here and they were offered as many as 480 houses in the government’s slum rehabilitation projects. But they refused to accept them as those places, Perumbakkam, where they were offered houses outside the city. Moving to a far away location makes their survival difficult, especially for women who work as house-helps in the city, men work as drivers, street vendors and children studying schools within the city,” said a senior slum clearance board official.

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Officials said they had already evicted 110 families, and the process has now been stopped.