Two die during Athi Varadar festival in Kancheepuram


Kumar, the auto driver, hailed from Karukupettai village in Kancheepuram. Around 12 pm on Wednesday, he was approaching the Muthiyarpettai check post when the policemen on duty there stopped his vehicle and said that he cannot take it beyond a particular point.

This led to a quarrel between Kumar and the police as the auto driver insisted that he be allowed to take his vehicle with him since he had a pass. But, when the policemen refused to relent, Kumar took a petrol can from his auto and poured the fuel over himself. The policemen thought he was trying to scare them, but in a fraction of a second Kumar set himself on fire.

The policemen and passersby helped to douse the fire, and Kumar was rushed to Kancheepuram Government Hospital. But he had suffered with 85 percent burns and died in the afternoon without responding for treatments. Kumar is survived by a wife and two kids

Kancheepuram SP Santosh Hadimani said that vehicles with a pass are not allowed entry beyond a point when the temple is crowded. “We will check CCTV footage to know what exactly happened and take action accordingly,” he said. The Vishu Kanchi police have registered a case.

In the second case, a 22-year-old from Andhra Pradesh died of a heart attack within the temple premises on Wednesday.

Identified as Sakthi Akash, a resident of from Rajamundri in Andhra Pradesh, the deceased was a college student. Akash and his mother had come to Kancheepuram for the Athi Varadar festival. On Wednesday Akash had clicked photographs of the Mulavar (main deity). Temple officials who noticed this asked the police to delete the photographs from his phone. Accordingly, an officer took Akash phone, deleted the pictures, and left before returning the phone to him. A few minutes later, the youth fell unconscious. A medical team who tried to assist him said that Akash was semi-conscious for a while but he died a few minutes later. According to the police, he had suffered a cardiac arrest.

The SP said he was at the spot while the youth was with the medical team and he was not physically harmed by any officer before he fell unconscious; only photographs from his phone were deleted.