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.
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.
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.
Kerala has seen Congress and Communist rule. Both are efficient in corruption and inefficient in governance.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 14, 2018
BJP is different from the two and promises a people-friendly and non-corrupt government in Kerala. pic.twitter.com/IK5NzRrzB4
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.
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.
PM Narendra Modi: I want to tell BJP karyakartas, this should inspire everyone across the state to avoid taking any extreme step. Whatever points we have, we should express them firmly & convince the people about them https://t.co/Vx89eZrBOJ— ANI (@ANI) December 14, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac lashed out at BJP for imposing a hartal today
The fifth hartal of Sabarimala season called byBJP today. Reason: A person commits suicide in front of the secretariat. Magistrate who took the death testimony says that the suicide is unrelated to Sabarimala agitation. Nevertheless BJP claims him to a martyr of the agitation.— Thomas Isaac (@drthomasisaac) December 14, 2018
Even as release clashes with hartal date, Odiyan collects 100 crore in pre-bookings
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.
Victim's brother claims that he hasn't spoken to anyone on his deathbed debunking reports spread by news channels
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.
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
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.”
VISUALS: Life comes to a standstill, as seen in pictures in Kochi's Edapally area
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.
PHOTOS: Kozhikode maintains a peaceful hartal situation
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."
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.
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.