Indian politician dies of injuries after being hugged by 'human torch'

Saturday 03 May 2014 14.54
India's election, the world's biggest, will end on 16 May
India's election, the world's biggest, will end on 16 May

An Indian politician who was hugged during a television election debate by a "human torch" has died of burn injuries, the family have said.

The politician died last night in hospital after suffering burns to 75% of his body when a member of the audience doused himself in petrol and grabbed him.

The local leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Kamruzzama Fauji, and his attacker were engulfed in flames in front of the horrified audience as the television debate was being recorded.

India's media had described the attacker as looking like a "human torch".

The attack occurred as India's state-owned national TV channel Doordarshan was recording the debate for broadcast later.

The programme was being recorded in a park in Sultanpur, a town 160km from Uttar Pradesh state capital Lucknow.

Mr Fauji's attacker, who suffered 95% burns, died shortly after the incident, police said.

Police have not come up with any motive for the attack on the politician, who was a father of nine children.

But Khalikurzama, the elder brother of Mr Fauji, called the attack "politically motivated" and demanded "a proper probe".

India's numerous television channels are holding nightly debate shows during the nation's marathon parliamentary election.

The debates are often staged in villages and towns with politicians taking questions in front of local voters.

The election, the world's biggest, will end on 16 May.

Results are expected to show the Hindu nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coming to power after ten years of rule by the leftist Congress party.

Monday's programme, which featured five local politicians, was just ending when the attack took place.

Two other local politicians on the programme suffered minor burn injuries.