The state’s notorious for ‘emotional’ suicides, so it’s no surprise that 2002 witnessed 11 attempts in the secretariat’s vicinity by people seeking to petition CM J. Jayalalitha for justice. The aiadmk government’s keenness to promote "an interface with the public" resulted in 4.59 lakh petitions in 2001 and 3.99 lakh last year, most of them from ordinary people with ordinary needs. But when justice seems denied, suicide is a strong threat. The trend has been encouraged by the handsome sums doled out to some families of suicide victims by the government. Last year, after a spate of attempts, a counselling centre was opened. There are now mounted hidden cameras too keeping watch. A culture of political suicides means it continues to have a high rate of self-immolation deaths: 1,584 in 2001, 1,451 in 2000. The ‘petition suicides’ have just added a new dimension. By the way, this year 68,000 petitions have come in so far.