2ND LEAD (ADDS VIDEO)

Congress cadre immolates himself to death protesting party inaction

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 February 2009, 19:17 GMT]
Congress functionary Sirkazhi (Cheerkaazhi) Ravichandran, a 47-year-old father of two children, immolated himself Saturday to protest his party's inaction on the Eelam Tamils issue. He succumbed to hundred percent burn injuries and died a short while later at 3:45 p.m. Two days earlier, he had an altercation with the Union Minister Mani Shanker Aiyar blaming the Congress party for failing to stop the war in Sri Lanka. He had also told a couple of his friends about his decision in order to bring about a change in the attitude of the Congress.

Cheerkaazhi Ravichandran
[Photo courtesy: Nakkheeran]
Hailing from Pidaari Street, Cheerkaazhi in the Naakappaddinam District in Tamil Nadu, Ravichandran was serving as the 17th Ward Branch Secretary of the Congress party. His mother Saradha is a member of the Mahila Congress, the women's wing of the Congress party.

In his affidavit to the Mayilaaduthu'rai magistrate, Ravichandran has stated that he was traumatized by the sorrow undergone by Eezham Tamils. "I feel extremely depressed that my party people have not come forward to help the Eezham Tamils who suffer so much. A ceasefire is an urgent requirement in Sri Lanka. Tamils should not be killed," he said.

He also pointed out, "India can stop the war. But I am very distressed that India has not come forward to initiate any steps in this regard." On his death bed, Ravichandran dedicated his life to the Eelam Tamils.

VCK Member of the Legislative Assembly, Durai Ravikumar, was the first to visit dying Ravichandran at the Mayilaaduthu'rai Government Hospital. He gave his condolences to Ravichandran's wife and parents. Hundreds of cadres of the VCK, PMK and DMK were gathered in large numbers in front of the hospital. The situation was very tense and according to news reports, heavy security arrangements have been made in the region to prevent the situation from going out of hand.

Leaders of the umbrella front in Tamil Nadu, Ilangkaith Thamizhar Paathukaappu Pearavai, which was recently formed to protect the Eezham Tamils, will be taking part in his funeral procession Sunday evening.

In the meantime, people in the Naakapaddinam district have started taking out silent processions to mourn his death and to protest the Indian Government's inaction.

Cheerkaazhi Ravichandran
The remains of Cheerkaazhi Ravichandran [Photo courtesy: Nakkheeran]


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