Ayyappa devotee immolates himself, BJP calls for shutdown

by IANS |

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 13 (IANS) A 50-year-old man early on Thursday set himself on fire at a BJP protest venue here and died at the state-run Medical College Hospital in the evening, police said.

Venugopalan Nair poured kerosene on his clothes, set them on fire and ran into the protest venue in front of the state Secretariat.

At the venue was former state BJP President C.K. Padmanabhan, who is on an indefinite fast against the manner in which the Kerala government is handling the Sabarimala temple issue after the Supreme Court ruled in September that all women can enter the shrine.

Nair was rushed to the hospital. He had suffered 90 per cent burns and breathed his last on Thursday evening.

Following the death, the BJP called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Kerala on Friday.

While the police are yet to ascertain the reason for the immolation, the BJP is linking it to the Sabarimala temple issue.

But in his dying declaration, Nair has said he does not wish to live any longer and is ending his life and made no mention of the Sabarimala temple.

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