However, Venugopalan Nair's brother Manikandan categorically denied this. "My brother has not given any statement to the police or the magistrate."

Death of man who set himself on fire was over personal issues not Sabarimala Police
news Death Friday, December 14, 2018 - 09:30

The Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner has confirmed that the reason behind the death of 49-year-old Venugopalan Nair, who set himself on fire at the BJP protest venue in Thiruvananthapuram – is not connected to the Sabarimala issues.

According to a police press release, Venugopalan Nair, in his statement given to the police before his death, said that the reason behind setting himself on fire was due to various personal problems and the loss of desire to live anymore.

The forensic squad, the scientific study squad and the dog squad of the police had visited the scene where Venugopalan set himself on fire and had collected evidence on Thursday. A case has been registered at the Cantonment police station in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with his death and investigation is underway.

This confirmation by the police even as the BJP has called for a statewide dawn-to-dusk hartal in Kerala on Friday, to honour Venugopalan Nair.

However, Venugopalan Nair's brother Manikandan categorically denied this. "My brother has not given any statement to the police or the magistrate, he spoke only to me. He ha dno political affiliations. He said he was doing this (immolation) for Ayyappa."

Manikandan added that his brother had been upset at the Supreme Court's verdict but there was no sign that he was depressed enough to take such a drastic step.

Venugopalan, an auto driver hailing from Muttada in the state capital, set himself on fire during the early hours of Thursday in front of the Secretariat building in Thiruvananthapuram, where members of the BJP were protesting against the restrictions imposed at Sabarimala temple. He set himself ablaze and ran towards the makeshift tent constructed to house BJP State General Secretary CK Padmanabhan, who is currently leading the protest.

The police and BJP workers rushed him to the Government Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, where he succumbed to his injuries at around 3.30 pm on Thursday. He had sustained 90% burns.

The BJP State General Secretary MT Ramesh denied all reports that Venugopalan was part of the BJP. He had appeared at the protest venue about ten or fifteen minutes before the incident took place, and was speaking to our people there. He said that he is a strong Ayyappa devotee and is ready to give his life for Sabarimala. The people there didn’t take his words so seriously, but a few minutes later, he doused himself with petrol and set himself alight, and ran towards where CK Padmanabhan and his people were sitting, with the intention of rushing into the Secretariat,” he said.

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