Thiruvananthapuram: A 49-year-old man put himself on fire and ran towards the venue of a sit-in-protest by BJP leader CK Padmanabhan against the anti-Sabarimala stand taken by the state government. The incident happened around 1:30 am on Thursday in front of Secretariat.
The man has been identified as Venugopalan Nair, a resident of Muttada who suffered 60 per cent burns and was rushed to the Government Medical College hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
In flames, he was heard chanting the ‘swami saranam’ hymns.
BJP leader CK Padmanabhan said, 'Venugopalan Nair was an Ayyappa devotee. Police say they are conducting the investigation from all angles and say Venugopalan Nair was under the influence of alcohol and also had some family issues.’
Sabarimala temple has been witnessing violent protests by a section of devotees and right-wing groups since the Supreme Court’s verdict on September 28 which allowed women of all ages to worship at the temple.
Trouble began when the state government rushed to implement the top court’s order.
The state also witnessed two shutdowns over the issue. The top court will take up a bunch of review petitions against its verdict on January 22....