‘Beaten’ by Chennai cop for not wearing seat belt, cab driver sets self ablaze

Chennai: A 21-year old cab driver set himself ablaze in full public view in Chennai on Wednesday after a verbal duel with traffic police over spot fine for allegedly not fastening his seat belt.

Police said Manikandan who suffered serious burns was battling for life at a government hospital.

A native of Tirunelveli district, the youth was fined for allegedly not fastening his seat belt while driving the car on the busy Rajiv Gandh Salai, police said.

Though the driver paid the fine, he subsequently picked up an argument with the traffic police personnel and allegedly tried to click pictures with his mobile phone about “police harassment.”

He later recorded a video alleging that police treated him badly and beat him up.

Alleging that he was humiliated in full public glare, the driver then suddenly took out a petrol can from his car, poured the fuel all over him and set himself ablaze.

He was rushed to Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, a speciality institution for treating burn injuries.

Feeling outraged, fellow cab drivers and members of the general public blocked traffic on the RG Road, gateway to the busy Information Technology corridor of the city.

Hospital Dean P Vasanthamani said the victim has suffered 59 per cent burns and a team of doctors has been tasked with providing treatment.

All appropriate treatment options were being followed. “He is critical. We are taking all steps to save his life,” she told PTI.

Police commissioner AK Viswanathan visited the victim in the hospital and later told reporters that appropriate action would be taken in the matter and a preliminary inquiry has been done.

The incident comes months after a man immolated his two children and wife before committing self-immolation in front of the district collectorate in Tirunelveli over alleged usury.