In a shocking incident, a couple set themselves and their two little daughters on fire at the Tirunelveli collectorate in Tamil Nadu on Monday morning.

They were allegedly being harassed by a money lender.

All of them suffered serious burn injuries. They were admitted to Tirunelveli Government Medical College and Hospital.

The injured have been identified as P Isakimuthu 28, of Kasitharmam, who is a daily wage labourer, his wife I Subbulakshmi, 25, a homemaker, and their daughters I Madhi Sarvinya, 5, and Akshaya Baranika (one-and-a-half years old), reported the Times of India.

Isakimuthu’s brother P Gopi (27) told Times of India that his sister-in-law had borrowed Rs 1.45 lakh from money lender T Muthulakshmi of the same locality about eight months ago. He claimed that the family had repaid Rs 2.34 lakh but the lender and her family had been allegedly harassing the family demanding Rs 1.45 lakh more to complete repaying the loan as they had only repaid the interest so far (2.34 lakh).

"We had petitioned the Tirunelveli district collector six times over the issue. But it has been of no use. The collector forwarded it to the superintendent of police, and he in turn to the Achamputhur police through the DSP concerned. This had been the routine every time but the harassment continued," he said.

Allegedly two cops were supporting the money lenders. Sub-inspector Murugan and constable Thangadurai from the Achamputhur police station had been allegedly harassing the family and had not acted on their complaint.

Isakimuthu's family was accompanied by Gopi, mother Pechiammal and a relative, Isakidurai. Gopi said they were unaware that Isakimuthu had carried a can filled with fuel and a matchbox.

However, Gopi said that he was unaware of the intentions of the family. When the incident took place at the collectorate there were several policemen and others at the office who threw sand and water on the burning family member but by the time the fire was extinguished the family members were completely burnt.