Indian man on fire hugs politician on TV

Spectator sets himself ablaze and embraces local politician during live TV debate in Uttar Pradesh state.

    Indian man on fire hugs politician on TV
    Indian bystanders attempt to douse the fire as a spectator set himself ablaze and embraced a local politician [AFP]

    A television debate show in northern India has ended in horror after a spectator set himself ablaze and embraced a local politician, leaving both men fighting for their lives, police and a witness told AFP news agency.

    The election show on India's state-owned national TV channel Doordarshan was being recorded in a park on Monday in Sultanpur, a town about 160km from the city of Lucknow.

    A man, named by police as Durgesh Kumar Singh, emerged from a crowd of about 150 onlookers, doused himself in petrol and then grabbed the local leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Kamruzzama Fauji, engulfing the pair in flames.

    Singh sustained burns on 95 percent of his body which are likely to be fatal, while Fauji was in a critical state with 75 percent burns, police said.

    "This man suddenly came on the stage, poured petrol on himself and set himself on fire before tightly hugging one of the political guests," local photographer Pankaj Kumar Gupta told AFP.

    "People were just too shocked to know what was happening," said Gupta, whose photos show the men engulfed in flames with spectators fleeing the scene.

    Two other local politicians taking part in the show, Ram Kumar Singh and Chowdhary Hriday Ram Verma, also sustained minor burn injuries while trying to save the pair.

    "The injured were first admitted to the district hospital here (in Sultanpur) and were then referred to Lucknow," said a statement from the police.

    The motive for the incident is unknown.

    The election, the world's biggest, will end on May 12.

    Photographer Gupta said the show on Monday was called Janmanch 2014 (People's Forum 2014) featuring five local politicians which was coming to an end when the man suddenly appeared.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.