Janitor who set himself on fire was amiable man happy with his jobSiddhartha Aauji had sustained critical injuries after setting himself on fire in front of Bayalpata Hospital on Monday morning. He was airlifted to Nepalgunj-based Bheri Hospital where he died in course of treatment
Colleagues and neighbours recall Siddhartha Aauji, the man who died after setting himself on fire in Achham on Monday, remember him as an amiable person who was happy with his job.
The 24-year-old Sanphebagar resident, who returned from Mumbai six year ago, worked as a janitor at Bayalpata Hospital to feed his 10-member family. According to his friends, he was distressed after the hospital handed him his dismissal letter on May 28.
“He (Aauji) felt humiliated when he was dismissed as the hospital said it was sacking him and 32 others based on the review of their performance,” said Bishal Pandit, Aauji’s neighbour who also lost his job at the hospital.
Pandit said Aauji had urged the hospital management to not dismiss him as it was the only means of his livelihood. “He was also worried that villagers would look down on him for failing at his job,” said Pandit. “He was an emotionally stable person, it was unthinkable that he could set himself on fire.” Pandit said Aauji had urged the hospital management to not dismiss him as it was the only means of his livelihood.
Aauji had sustained critical injuries after setting himself on fire in front of the hospital on Monday morning. He was airlifted to Nepalgunj-based Bheri Hospital where he died in course of his treatment.
Neighbours say that as chairman of the ward-level youth network, he was involved in various social activities. “He was actively involved in helping the community control the spread of Covid-19. He would stitch upto 25-30 face masks everyday and distribute them among the hospital staff and the locals,” said Janak Kadayat, his friend.
He had gone to India for work at a young age, and returned home six years ago. “He had returned to Nepal as he could not earn well in Mumbai. He got a job as a cleaner at the hospital last March last while he was planning to go abroad,” said Kadayat.
According to Kadayat, Aauji was happy with his job at the hospital. “His wife, two children, parents and siblings were also happy after he got a job at the hospital. At work, he would go out of his way to help his colleagues,” he said.
But Aauji’s world came crashing down when the hospital management refused to help him retain his job. “He was in deep mental stress after the hospital management handed him his dismissal letter around ten days ago,” said Kadayat. “He had taken a loan of Rs 200,000 for his wife’s treatment and was worried about being unable to pay it off. With the pandemic, the chances of employment abroad also looked slim.”
The hospital said the employees appointed on contract basis had been removed due to the financial constraints at the health institution. The hospital did not extend the contract of 33 employees from mid-May citing serious financial problems.
The hospital chartered a helicopter to take Aauji to Nepalgunj for treatment. But he breathed his last just half an hour after he reached Bheri hospital in Nepalgunj.
SP Kalauni, the director at Bayalpata Hospital, issued a statement after Aauji’s demise.
“The institution will support the bereaved family. We will coordinate with the local government about what’s to be done,” reads the statement.