Man jumps off 70-foot tank as crowd watches

Police say he had a history of mental illness, suicide notes blame corruption.

A 35-year-old man jumped off a 70-foot-high water tank on Wednesday even as policemen and residents were trying to persuade him to climb down. This happened in Vijaynagar, Ghaziabad.

Police said Lal had a history of mental illness and had attempted suicide twice earlier the last on October 2.

Before jumping off, Lal threw down sheets of paper, on which he had written that the "state of corruption in the country doesn't allow people to be happy". He also demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Police received a call around 9.30 am to inform that Lal, who is married and has two children, had climbed a water tank in Vijaynagar. He was also carrying a noose attached to a rod.

"We kept requesting him to come down, but he refused. After about an hour, policemen went up the stairs of the water tank, but he threatened to hang himself if anyone came closer. According to the standard procedure, we retreated," a senior police officer said.

When residents of the area tried to make their way up, Lal hurled stones at them.

"We asked local builders to arrange a safety net. He got wind of this, and the next time people tried to go up, he tried to hang himself. Seeing this, people rushed up to save him. He panicked and jumped off. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. The entire operation lasted around 2 hours," the officer said.

Eyewitnesses said after he climbed the tank, Lal shouted that he intended to kill himself at 12 noon to mark the date and time corresponding to "12-12-12-12" unless his demands were met.

"His pamphlets said perpetrators of corruption should get the death penalty. He also wanted the Prime Minister to resign because of corruption," Sandeep Gupta, a shopkeeper who was witness, said.

Another note by Lal said: "Corruption has spread like a disease, stops growth of people, like I have suffered. People cannot seem to get justice."

Police said Lal's family told them that he was earlier admitted to a hospital in Agra for "mental instability".

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