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By Behindwoods News Bureau | Dec 13, 2018 02:03 PM
Man sets himself ablaze to protest against women in Sabarimala

The controversy over women of all ages entering the Sabarimala Temple seems to be far from over. Dramatic scenes were witnessed at Kerala BJP's Sabarimala protest venue in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram in the early hours today.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, a 49-year-old man, identified as Venugopal Nair, allegedly tried to set himself ablaze as a mark of protest. Nair, who is a resident of  Muttada, poured petrol on his body and set himself ablaze.

He set himself on fire and ran to the protest venue, chanting "Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa". BJP leader CK Padmanabhan was on a hunger strike at the venue.

The fire was doused by the BJP activists and police who were at the venue and took Nair to Medical College hospital. As per doctors, Nair has suffered 60% burn injuries on his body and is said to be in critical state.

BJP leader CK Padmanabhan said Nair was an Ayyappa devotee, but his family has said that he was an RSS member. Nair was protesting against allowing women of all ages entering Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.

The BJP, which had been spearheading the protest against allowing women entry in the hill shrine had recently shifted the venue from Pandalam to the state capital.

BJP leader AN Radhakrishna who began the hunger strike last week was shifted to a hospital on Monday, the 8th day of his fast after his health deteriorated. Padmanabhan had replaced him on Tuesday and has been observing fast since.

The hilltop shrine has been witnessing violent protests by a section of devotees and right-wing groups since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict, which allowed women of all ages to worship at the temple.