Man immolates self; BJP claims it's over Sabarimala issue, calls hartal
Thiruvananthapuram: A 55-year-old man, said to be an Ayyappa devotee, died after setting himself afire near the venue of the BJP's protest over the Sabarimala issue here Thursday.
Calling a state-wide hartal on Friday over the death, BJP claimed the man immolated himself protesting the "adamant" stand of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government in Kerala over the issue of continuing prohibitory orders and restrictions at the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.
Venugopalan Nair of Muttada near here, who suffered 90 per cent burns, succumbed at the Government Medical College Hospital in the evening, police said.
Chanting 'Swamiye saranam Ayyappa' mantra, Nair set himself afire after dousing him with petrol near the venue in front of the state secretariat in the early hours.
He tried to run toward the makeshift tent where BJP leader C K Padmanabhan is on an indefinite fast demanding lifting of prohibitory orders in force in and around Sabarimala hill shrine, police said.
Party activists and police personnel, who were present near the venue, in front of the Kerala secretariat, doused the fire using drinking water and rushed him to the hospital, where he died without responding to treatment.