Venugopal Nair is currently in the ICU, and has suffered 90% burns.

Man sets himself on fire at BJP Sabarimala protest venue in Tvm critical
news Sabarimala Thursday, December 13, 2018 - 11:59

Around 2 am on Thursday, a Thiruvananthapuram native named Venugopalan Nair set himself on fire in front of the Kerala Secretariat building. He rushed into the makeshift tent that has been constructed there to house BJP State General Secretary CK Padmanabhan, who is currently carrying on the BJP’s relay fast to protest the government’s handling of the Sabarimala temple women's entry issue. He was taken by police stationed there and BJP workers to the Government Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.

The auto driver from Muttada in the Kerala capital suffered severe burns and his condition is reportedly critical. A Government Medical College Hospital official told TNM that he had suffered 90% burns, and was currently in the burns ICU. Cantonment police said, “We are not sure of his motive in committing this act as of now.”

Meanwhile, BJP State General Secretary MT Ramesh claimed, “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. Our people and the police stationed there stopped him and took him to the hospital.”

When asked if 49-year-old Venugopalan is a BJP member or worker, MT Ramesh said that as per BJP workers’ initial enquiries, he is “not from a BJP family.” He also said that Venugopalan is a strong devotee of Ayyappa, and visits Sabarimala on the 1st of every month.

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