Youths needle themselves to protest official apathy

April 15th, 2008 - 7:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Kanpur, April 15 (IANS) Frustrated with an apathetic administration, two young men in Uttar Pradesh pierced thousands of needles into their bodies to draw the attention of the authorities towards their grievances. Ram Kishore Shukla and Gopal Gupta claim to be the activists of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

In separate incidents Monday, while Shukla pierced as many as 21,000 needles into his body, Gupta pricked some 16,000 needles. Both smeared their bodies with some paint.

They say they resorted to this bizarre protest after their earlier efforts to draw the attention of officials to their misfortune went unheeded.

“Two people duped me and took away my hard-earned Rs.12,000. Despite my repeated requests, they refused to return my money,” Shukla, 28, told reporters shortly before being picked up by the police.

“What led me to pierce my body with needles was the blatant refusal of local police and officials to intervene in the matter, even though it was a clear-cut case of cheating,” he said.

Gupta, 24 and a leprosy patient, said he had failed in his efforts to secure his mother’s old-age pension.

“I have been running from pillar to post to get my mother’s old-age pension. I even bribed officials in the collectorate. But they took my money without helping me. I made written complaints to the district magistrate and other officials eight months ago but failed to achieve anything,” he said.

The police charged both Shukla and Gupta with “attempting suicide”.

Kanpur senior Superintendent of Police A.K. Singh told IANS: “As soon as we came to know about their illegal act, we sent our force to stop them and book them.”

He, however, assured he would get suitable action initiated on their complaints.

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