A 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.
The 21-year-old, identified as Manikandan, suffered serious burns, and was battling for life at a government hospital.
According to reports, traffic police allegedly beat up the driver on the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) for not wearing the seatbelt. He was allegedly hit with an iron rod as well.
Upset over this treatment, the driver then came back to his vehicle and doused himself with petrol that he had kept in the car. He then set himself on fire. He was then rushed to the Kilpauk Medical College hospital by the police who allegedly assaulted him.
The two traffic policemen have been identified as Vijayakumar and Thamaraichelvan.
In a video, that has since surfaced, Manikandan seems to be addressing an older man and says, “Anna, the police hit me badly. They used my caste name and then hit me with a rod.”
Police commissioner A K 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.