It was recently that a video showing a man living on the streets of Kochi religiously placing flowers on the APJ Abdul Kalam statue in the city's Marine Drive had gone viral on social media. The man, identified as Sivadasan, an ardent admirer of Abdul Kalam, had moved hearts when he conveyed in the video that every day, he adorns the statue with flowers without fail, as he is forever thankful to the former President for his act of kindness — when he gave Sivadasan Rs 500 during his visit to Kerala years ago. However, Sivadasan was recently found dead in Marine Drive and Kochi city police have stated that he was murdered, allegedly by an acquaintance who was envious of his fame.
It was on December 16 that police reportedly discovered Sivadasan's body on the Abdul Kalam Marg (Marine Drive walkway), where he sleeps. The post-mortem revealed that he had died of internal injuries and that's when the police realised that the 63-year-old could have been murdered. The ensuing probe led to the arrest of a Paravoor native, Rajesh. The police said that Sivadasan was allegedly thrashed by Rajesh, due to which he suffered internal injuries.
“Sivadasan had recently got much publicity on decorating the Adbul Kalam statue with flowers. We have learned from many people that the accused was envious over this. Many people had seen the man thrashing Sivadasan for two days (on the day of the alleged murder and a day before),” K Lalji, Ernakulam Assistant Commissioner of Police, told media on Saturday.
Police officials on Saturday brought Rajesh to the Marine Drive walkway to collect evidence.
According to reports, Sivadasan is a native of Kollam but had been residing in Marine Drive for many years. In the video that went viral, he had said that he had met Abdul Kalam twice during his visit to Kerala, once in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. “On his visit to Thiruvananthapuram stadium, when I saw him, he put Rs 500 in my pockets saying to keep as travel expenses. I cannot ever forget it... I’m showing my gratitude for that,” Sivadasan had said emotionally in the video.
Watch video of Sivadasan
Every day in the morning, Sivadasan used to decorate the statue of the former President with flowers that he plucked from the surroundings. He had even planted a few plants near the statue.
The Marine Drive walkway was named after the former President in 2015 following his death. In 2006, when Abdul Kalam came to Kochi, many trees along Marine Drive were cut as part of beautification. This had raised criticism from many quarters and had even reached Abdul Kalam. He had then contacted Ernakulam district officials, asking to plant double the number of trees that were chopped down.