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Kerala hartal HIGHLIGHTS: Nair’s dying declaration states he took extreme step out of depression, say police

Kerala hartal HIGHLIGHTS: Following the announcement of the hartal, all examinations in the state from Class 1 to 10 were deferred to December 21 and examinations conducted by Kerala University and Kerala Technological University were also postponed.

Written by Vishnu Varma | New Delhi |
Updated: December 14, 2018 8:44:02 pm
Kerala hartal LIVE updates, kerala hartal, kerala, kerala bjp, kerala bjp protest, This is the fourth bandh to be invoked by the BJP in the state since Sabarimala temple opened for the annual ‘Mandalam-Makarvillaku’ pilgrimage season in November-December. (Express photo by Vishnu Varma)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the self-immolation of Venugopal Nair is a lesson to the people of the state. The incident teaches all to avoid taking any extreme step. “Whatever points we have, we should express them firmly and convince the people about them,” ANI reported Modi to have said. Interacting with party Karmakartas from Kerala, Modi also said the sad news of Nair’s death has forced the party call the state-wide hartal on Friday.

The BJP in Kerala called for a state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal on Friday after 42-year-old Venugopalan Nair set himself ablaze near the BJP’s Sabarimala protest venue in Thiruvananthapuram. He suffered 90 per cent burn injuries and died while he was being treated at a hospital. MT Ramesh, the BJP’s state general secretary, in a Facebook post said, “The man sacrificed his life to force open the eyes and ears of the Marxist government. That’s why a 12-hour hartal from 6 am to 6 pm is being called tomorrow.” However, police said that Nair, in his dying declaration given to the Magistrate, said he resorted to the act due to depression and ran towards the protest venue after setting himself afire.

READ: Kerala BJP calls for hartal tomorrow: All you need to know

Live Blog

The Kerala BJP has called for a statewide bandh after a man self-immolated Thursday. Will it bring the state to a standstill? Follow for latest updates.

19:58 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Left, Cong efficient in corruption, inefficient in governance

PM Modi, while addressing a meeting with BJP Karyakartas in Kerala, said the state has seen Congress and Communist rule. Both the parties are efficient in corruption and inefficient in governance.

17:43 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Nair's dying declaration states his depression led him to take extreme step: Police

Although BJP has claimed that Nair took the extreme step due to the "adamant" stand of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government on the Sabarimala issue, police said that Nair, in his dying declaration given to the magistrate, said he resorted to the act due to depression and ran towards the protest venue after setting himself afire, PTI reported.

17:14 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Nair's incident teaches us to not take any extreme step: PM Modi

PM Narendra Modi said the sad news of Venugopal Nair setting himself to fire forced his party to call for a bandh in Kerala. While interacting with the Karyakartas from Kerala, Modi said this also teaches people across the state to not take any extreme step. " Whatever points we have, we should express them firmly and convince the people about them," he said.

16:46 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Traders oppose hartal by opening shops

Various traders' organisations came out in open against the flash hartal called by the BJP as this was the second state-wide strike in less than three weeks. The shopkeepers in the famous Sweetmeat Street in Kozhikode responded to the hartal by opening shops, reported PTI.

The business capital of Kerala, Kochi, saw a partial response to the hartal with some of the shops remaining open and vehicles plying. Certain voluntary organisations and individuals at Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station were seen helping out the public who were stranded at the state capital.

16:41 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Police arranged transport facilities for patients

In the capital, Thiruvananthapuram, police arranged transport facilities for patients going to Medical College and the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC).
"The police bus has already completed six trips till noon with more than 100 people each to the medical college and RCC route. We have also arranged a vehicle to the airport," a police official told PTI.

16:39 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Three Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses damaged

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has been plying services to Pamba to ease difficulties of Sabarimala pilgrims.
However, three KSRTC buses were damaged in Palakkad district during stone-pelting by hartal supporters.

15:56 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Locals resist BJP workers

In Thiruvananthapuram's Pangod, locals resisted BJP workers when the latter proceeded to forcibly close shops in the area in conjunction with their call for a hartal. When traders and locals came together in large numbers to prevent any forcible attempts to shut businesses, the BJP workers had to retreat.

13:18 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac lashed out at BJP for imposing a hartal today
12:58 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Even as release clashes with hartal date, Odiyan collects 100 crore in pre-bookings
12:38 (IST)14 Dec 2018
State BJP President retaliates to comments on BJP imposing frequent hartals in Kerala

Hasn't the CPM conducted a hartal when former US President visited India? Hasn't the CPM conducted a bandh in Kerala when Saddam Hussein was executed? Wasn't Pinarayi Vijayan the state secretary of the CPM then?, questions Kerala BJP President PS Sreedharan Pillai.

12:14 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Victim's brother claims that he hasn't spoken to anyone on his deathbed debunking reports spread by news channels
11:50 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Public transport services smooth; offices and shops shut

Shops, offices and schools remain shut as private buses stay off roads. Government buses are operating on some routes and services are not completely disrupted. Private vehicles continue to ply on roads and Kochi metro also continues operation.

11:14 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Mohanlal 'Lalettan' fans hurl abuses on Kerala BJP's official Facebook page

Scores of fans of actor Mohanlal defied the BJP's bandh on Friday to reach movie theatres for the early-morning screenings of the film 'Odiyan'. The film, touted as the most expensive in Malayalam cinema, comes after a two-year wait where the superstar plays the titular character with supernatural powers.  After the hartal was called, there were doubts whether the Odiyan screenings would be cancelled. But the film's makers told fans that the screenings will take place as scheduled.  As expected, the film fans have not taken kindly to the party's call for a hartal. A shower of abuses have filled the comments section of the party's official Facebook page.  Follow Odiyan  movie release LIVE UPDATES

10:47 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Man who set himself ablaze has not made any reference to the Sabarimala issue in his statement: Kerala police

The Kerala Police late Thursday night sought to clarify that the suicide of a 49-year-old man by setting himself on fire near the venue of the BJP’s Sabarimala protest could not have been linked to the agitation.  Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner P Prakash told the Indian Express: “Nair has not made any reference to the Sabarimala issue in his statement. He had some family issues and also some personal problems which might have forced him to take such an extreme step. I don’t think he had been part of any agitation related to Sabarimala.”

10:29 (IST)14 Dec 2018
VISUALS: Life comes to a standstill, as seen in pictures in Kochi's Edapally area

(Express photo by Vishnu Varma) 
(Express photo by Vishnu Varma) 
(Express photo by Vishnu Varma) 
(Express photo by Vishnu Varma) 

09:48 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Mohanlal-starrer Odiyan's shows stand cancelled due to the hartal

Kerala theatres have announced that all daytime shows of the Mohanlal starrer Odiyan are cancelled today.  Theatres have also sent out messages informing viewers of this and made an arrangement for those who have booked to watch the same show on Saturday.

A theatre in Kerala with Odiyan's hoarding
 Lulu mall has put out on their social media handles regarding shows being screened after 6 pm owing to the hartal
09:25 (IST)14 Dec 2018
PHOTOS: Kozhikode maintains a peaceful hartal situation

Express photo
Express photo
Express photo
Express photo
Express photo

08:58 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Devaswom minister attacks state BJP for the strike, calls it tactic to 'provoke police'

Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran on Thursday night lashed out at the BJP's call for strike and said the saffron party was trying to provoke the police. "Tomorrow's strike is the result of desperation faced by the BJP due to failure of its plan to create 'balidanis' (martyrs) by provoking the police at Sabarimala and other places."

08:36 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Depression, reason for suicide not Sabarimala issue: Kerala police

Contrary to the version narrated by the BJP workers, Kerala Police said late Thursday night that the 42-year-old man, who died after setting himself afire near the venue of the BJP's protest, had committed suicide due to personal reasons and do not have any relation to the ongoing agitation over Sabarimala issue.  "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.

08:21 (IST)14 Dec 2018
Major state universities postpone exams, dates to be announced

Following the announcement of the hartal, the Kerala University, Mahatma Gandhi University and Science and Technology University have decided to postpone all the exams that were to be held on Friday. New dates for the exams will be announced soon. Welcome to our live blog and follow this space for latest updates.

In the early hours of Thursday, the deceased poured petrol on his body and set himself ablaze, advancing towards a tent in which BJP leaders and workers were protesting police restrictions imposed by the ruling LDF government on the Sabarimala temple premises. Nair who sustained 90 per cent burns, was immediately rushed to the hospital where he died.

BJP leaders and workers claimed that Nair shouted ‘Ayyappa, Ayyappa’ as he rushed towards the party’s protest venue. The police, however, have termed the incident as suicide and ruled out having any relation to the protest.

MT Ramesh, the BJP’s state general secretary, said in a Facebook Live video, "Kerala will react to an Ayyappa devotee sacrificing his life. All essential services will be kept out of the hartal. We don’t want to create inconvenience to anyone. The BJP does not intend to force anyone to participate in the hartal. But we believe that the devotee community in Kerala will take ownership of the hartal.”

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