The secretary of a youth organisation in Tamil Nadu on Friday succumbed to injuries he had sustained after setting himself on fire as part of a protest in the ongoing Cauvery water dispute. Vignesh, a member of political party Naam Thamizhar Katchi’s youth wing, was protesting against the attacks on Tamilians in Karnataka, The News Minute reported. The 25-year-old had joined a rally from Pudupet to Egmore, led by the outfit's leader Seeman, on Thursday.
Officials said he suffered 93% burn injuries and died at the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital. According to The News Minute report, Vignesh had published a post on Facebook on Wednesday, stating, "In tomorrow's rally there is a possibility of many suicide bids. I urge the media to telecast the rally live so that the channels can increase their TRPs [Television Rating Points]." Vignesh said he hoped seeing this would lead to "an uprising of the Tamil community" and a student revolution in the state.
Officials also reportedly found a suicide note on him. The letter claims he was also trying to highlight other issues in the state, such as the imposition of Sanskrit and the methane extraction project in the Cauvery basin.
The Supreme Court’s order on September 5 to Karnataka, to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu every day for 10 days, triggered protests among farmers and Kannada organisations, which urged the state to first protect the interests of its own people. Karnataka held a state-wide bandh on September 9. While the court later changed its requirement to 12,000 cusecs of water, violence was reported on both sides of the border, with Kannadigas targeting Tamilians and vice-versa. A day-long bandh was organised in Tamil Nadu on Friday.