Forty nine-year-old Venugopalan Nair, who set himself on fire at the BJP Sabarimala protest venue in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday has passed away in the hospital due to burn injuries. Venugopalan, who is a native of Muttada, died at the Government Medical College around 3.45 pm on Thursday.
Around 2 am on Thursday, Venugopalan Nair set himself on fire in front of the Secretariat building and suffered 90% burn injuries. 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 and BJP workers to the Government Medical College Hospital in Thiruvananthapuram.
The auto driver from Muttada in the Kerala capital suffered severe burns in the incident and was admitted to the ICU. The police said his motive for committing the crime was unclear.
Venugopalan’s post mortem will be conducted on Friday morning.
Earlier in the day, BJP State General Secretary MT Ramesh denied 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. Our people and the police stationed there stopped him and took him to the hospital,” he said.