Charanjeet Pahwa, a Vishva Hindu Parishad leader from Haridwar, set himself on fire on Saturday demanding the closure of meat shops in the Jwalapur area of the District.
According to reports, Pahwa, who is the VHP district coordinator, poured petrol all over himself at the Shri Ram tri-junction, barely 25 meters away from the rail market police station, and set himself on fire. As commotion ensued in the area, local people and policemen from the station attempted to douse the fire with blankets. Pahwa was taken to the Chaman Rai hospital.
He was later shifted to a hospital in Dehradun as the previous hospital has no burn unit. Jwalapur station officer Amarjeet Singh stated that police personnel have been deployed in the area to avoid any law and order situation after the self-immolation attempt. Pahwa’s condition is reportedly critical.
VHP leader Nitin Gautam had alleged that there has been a rapid growth in the number of meat shops in the area and despite several complaints about the mushrooming of meat shops, the administration was silent on the matter. He added that Haridwar is a major religious destination for Hindus and millions of devotees arrive in the city to take the holy dip in Ganga. But even after several requests to the Municipal corporation and the district administration about religious sentiments being hurt, the matter has been ignored.
Reports state that the VHP has been demanding the municipal corporation of Haridwar to shift the meat shops beyond city limits for a long time. The VHP says that there are over 70 illegal meat shops operating currently within the city. Charnjeet Pahwa had reportedly given a memorandum recently to the district administration cancel the licences of the meat shops and shift them outside the city limits.
Gautam added that the VHP district unit has now given a week’s time to the authorities to take effective steps to shut down illegally operating meat shops in the area and stated that they will launch agitations and protests if it is not done soon.
In another such incident, Rajasthan based RSS worker Raghuvir Sharan Agarwal too set himself on fire in Jaipur in the early hours of Sunday. Raghuvir Sharan reportedly was facing family problems and was upset with the recent incidents of caste-based violence all over the country. Agarwal suffered 80% burns and his condition is critical too.