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Kerala: Ayyappa devotee sets himself on fire outside the state secretariat

BJP leader CK Padmanabhan has been undertaking a hunger strike on the issue of Sabarimala outside the Kerala Secretariat.

The ongoing battle between the Hindu devotees and the Kerala communist government has consumed a devotee’s life as a 49-year old man set himself on fire outside Kerala secretariat at Thiruvananthapuram in the early hours of Thursday morning, as per reports.

According to reports, Venugopalan Nair, 49 while protesting against the state government for its extreme interference in the customs of the Sabarimala temple poured petrol over his body, set himself ablaze at around 2 am in the morning on Thursday. Venugopalan Nair, who hails from Muttada near Thiruvananthapuram has now been admitted to the Medical College Hospital with 90 per cent burns injuries. Some media reports have also mentioned that Nair was in an inebriated state when he took the step.

Reportedly, Nair was present at the spot as senior BJP leader CK Padmanabhan has been undertaking a hunger strike on the issue of Sabarimala outside the Kerala Secretariat. Padmanabhan was also present at the spot when Nair attempted to self-immolate himself. BJP workers and locals, who were present at the spot, immediately rushed towards him and tried to extinguish the fire.

Jijin G Chacko, sub-inspector of the Cantonment Police Station, said that Nair was reportedly chanting slogans of ‘Ayyappa, Ayyappa’ while setting himself on fire. The police have also informed that Nair is abandoned by his family which includes his two wives and children, hence, personal reasons cannot be ruled out for this extreme step. Meanwhile, the police have initiated an investigation into the incident.

The state of Kerala has been rocked with protests after the controversial judgement of the Supreme Court allowed women of all the ages to enter the Sabarimala shrine. The massive protests in Kerala by Hindu devotees had come as a result of the Kerala government trying to stop genuine devotees while allowing activists and non-Hindus to enter the Sabarimala shrine, even escorting them.

In the guise of implementing Supreme Court judgement, the Kerala government, with the help of state police force had turned the area near Sabarimala into a war zone after some devotees had clashed with the police. The Kerala police had also unleashed violence against Hindu devotees by pelting stones and lathi charging as the situation went out of control.

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