A 14-year-old boy from Vellore set himself on fire on Tuesday to skip going to school the next day, as he was afraid of being scolded by his teacher for allegedly stealing a classmate’s wallet.
The Superintendent of Police in Vellore told TNM that Govindan, who hails from Thathanavaasal in Tirupattur, was aiming to give himself minor burn marks so that his father would allow him to skip the next day’s class. The boy went to an orchard near his house, poured kerosene on himself and set himself on fire.
When the fire started spreading and he couldn’t bear the pain, Govindan ran for help to the nearby houses. The people in the locality doused the fire and immediately called an ambulance; he was admitted to the Vellore government hospital.
The SP said that Govindan had earlier told them that two men had kidnapped him, taken him to an isolated place and set him on fire. After preliminary investigations, police found that the boy had lied and that he had carried a bottle of kerosene from his house.
The boy suffered 40% burns and was shifted to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital in Chennai. The SP said that the case is still under investigation.
“He had stolen a wallet from a student in his class and the teacher had given him a warning. This could be the reason that he burnt himself. The case is still being investigated,” the SP added.
Govindan’s father works as a daily wage labourer and his mother works as a domestic help in Bengaluru. Both his parents have been living separately due to a family dispute.
What you can do to help someone on fire
STOP, DROP and ROLL:
Stop if your clothes catch fire. Moving or running will fan the flames.
Drop to the floor and lie down flat.
Roll over and over on the floor or ground until the fire is fully extinguished.
If someone near you is on fire, stop them from running and help them STOP, DROP, and ROLL.
Call an ambulance or take a doctor’s help immediately.