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Woman's self-immolation sparks outrage in Iran

Young girls walk in front of a mural showing the Iranian national flag in the centre of the capital Tehran, on April 23, 2019 [ATTA KENARE / AFP via Getty Images]
Young girls walk in front of a mural showing the Iranian national flag in the centre of the capital Tehran, on April 23, 2019 [ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images]

A shocking incident of a woman setting herself on fire in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan has evoked widespread anger and outrage across the country, reports Anadolu Agency.

The incident was reported on Thursday in the port city of Bandar Abbas, where a 35-year-old woman attempted self-immolation after her house was razed down by local authorities.

The woman, according to local officials, suffered substantial burns and is presently undergoing treatment at a local hospital in the city on the southern coast of Iran.

Local sources said the woman was living with her two children along with two other women and their children in the ramshackle house located in the Bist o Davvam town of the city.

While the mother is hospitalized, her children and other occupants have been rendered homeless.

Provincial officials who visited the victim in the hospital on Friday have ordered investigation into the matter that has gathered storm on social media.

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The port city of Bandar Abbas, strategically located at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, overlooking the Strait of Hormoz, was tipped to become an important commercial hub in the region.

It, however, has been reduced to a hub of ghettos occupied by poverty-stricken people. According to official estimates, roughly half of the population in the port city – some 240,000 – lives in authorized houses.

The latest incident has again put the spotlight on grinding poverty in the province, difficult living conditions, and indifference of local authorities towards the plight of people.

The municipality officials say a warning had been given to the occupants of the house to vacate it since the land belongs to the government and is "situated on a flood channel".

But the woman's relatives claim they had asked the municipality not to go ahead with the plan, as they were staying in the house "as a matter of necessity, not choice".

The incident has drawn widespread anger and outrage across Iran.

Samieh Rafiee, a lawmaker from the capital Tehran, denounced the action and called for "amendments in existing laws" to prevent such incidents in the future.

Ali Reza Zakhani, a lawmaker from the city of Qom, termed it a "bitter event" and an example of "discriminatory behavior" towards the poor.

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