In a sight that was eerily reminiscent of the family that immolated themselves outside the Tirunelveli Collectorate, a young woman doused herself in gasoline outside the Dharapuram Municipality Office in Tiruppur district on Friday afternoon.
"How long do I have to wait for a job? Do I have to keep running from pillar to post?" the woman screamed, as police poured buckets of water on her head.
The young woman, Rajpu Nisa, who donned a burkha, alleged that she was wronged by the civic body.
Nisa, who had an inter-faith marriage in Tirupur district, claimed to have applied for the post of midday meals organiser to the municipality.
"During the interview, they were happy with all my answers and said that because I had an inter-caste marriage, I would be given preference for the job. Everything seemed fine," said Nisa.
She falls under the BC quota while her husband belongs to the SC community.
"But when I didn't get the job, I came to know that the municipality had not sent details about my marriage to the Collector's office. This meant I would not get the job," she claims.
Nisa told TNM that she visited the Collector's office in Tirupur at least eight times in two months and could only meet lower-level functionaries there.
"When I went to the municipal secretary, he told me that he would get me the job if I paid Rs 1.50 lakh. I couldn't afford it, so I gave him Rs 50,000 and said I would pay the rest after I get a job. But when I went back to him, he said he won't help me," she adds. Nisha claims to have retrieved the money she gave.
However, Kamaraj, the Municipal Secretary denies the all the entire allegation.
"I tried to help her because she was a poor woman. There was no money involved," he said.
Kamaraj went on to add that this was "just drama to attract attention. Her father belongs to the DMK and they are trying to politicise the matter. Either that or she has lost her mind".
But when questioned about why she didn’t the job, Kamaraj said that the particular post was for the MBC quota, which is why they couldn’t give it to her.
Nisa, however, says that this is false.
"They told me in the Collector's office that there was no quota there. It is all lies. Their only focus is money and they are ruining people's lives for that," she claims.
"When Kamaraj found out that I went to the Collector, he said he will make sure I don't get any job. That is why I wanted to immolate myself. To highlight this terrible plight," she adds.
Nisa alleges that even the municipal manager, Muthukumar, demanded money to get her a post.
"I agreed to pay him but he makes me come [to the municipality office] almost every day, only to send me back. I couldn't do this any longer," Nisa says.