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Kerala: BJP calls for bandh after ‘Ayyappa devotee’ immolates self

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Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 14: The Kerala unit of the BJP called for a dawn-to-dusk strike in the state on Friday after a man, who attempted self-immolation near the party's Sabarimala protest venue in Thiruvananthapuram, died at the Medical College Hospital.

Kerala: BJP calls for bandh after ‘Ayyappa devotee’ immolates self

Stray incidents of violence were reported during the dawn-to-dusk hartal. KSRTC buses parked outside Palakkad depot have been vandalised.

Pilgrimage to Sabarimala and essential services have been exempted from the bandh. Service of public transport was interrupted and only private vehicles were seen on the roads.

Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran lashed out at the BJP's call for strike and said the party was trying to provoke the police.

According to reports, all examinations from classes 1 to 10 in schools have been deferred to December 21 and examinations conducted by Kerala University and Kerala Technological University postponed too in view of the hartal.

Calling a state-wide strike on Friday over the death, the BJP claimed that the man immolated himself protesting the "adamant" stand of the state government, led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, over the issue of continuing prohibitory orders and restrictions at the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala.

BJP's CK Padmanabhan: He (Venugopalan Nair) is an Ayyappa devotee. He visited Ayyappa temple many times. Because of this negative attitude of Pinarayi government towards this agitation and Ayappa devotees, lakhs of Ayappa devotees are hurt

"The deceased, in his dying declaration given to the Magistrate, said he resorted to the act due to depression and ran frantic towards the protest venue after setting himself afire," the police said in a release.

(With PTI inputs)

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