Thiruvananthapuram: The BJP has called for a state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal on Friday over an Ayyappa devotee's death. The middle-aged man identified as Venugopalan Nair, a native of Muttada, Thiruvananthapuram district, poured petrol on his body and tried to set himself on fire at 2am on Thursday. He breathed his last at around 3:45pm. 

Chanting ' swamiye saranam Ayyappa ' matra, Nair set himself ablaze after pouring petrol over his body and tried to run to the makeshift tent where senior BJP leader CK Padmanabhan has been staging an indefinite fast.

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The Ayyappa devotee committed suicide in front of the secretariat in Kerala's capital,Thiruvananthapuram. The Kerala BJP leaders started a sit-in protest with a 15-day hunger strike from December 3 in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram. On December 10, the party leader AN Radhakrishnan was shifted to medical college hospital by the Kerala Police. He was starving for eight consecutive days when he was shifted to the hospital. Later CK Padmanabhan continued the indefinite fasting.

Police and other BJP activists soon rushed Venugopalan Nair to the nearest medical college hospital. Doctors said that he had sustained 70% burn injuries.

Regarding this issue, BJP leader MT Ramesh said that the Ayyappa devotee took this extreme step in protest against the state government's attitude towards Sabarimala issue. He also pointed out that the devotee was annoyed by the government’s "irresponsible approach towards the BJP".

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The government has not been able to provide the necessary security for the BJP leaders and the suicide attempt is testimony to this, he said. 

Earlier, after activist Trupti Desai announced that she would visit Sabarimala temple, Shiv Sena group announced that they would stage a mass suicide. The Sabarimala temple has been carrying decades-old ritual of closing its path to women, as believed to be followed by Lord Ayyappa himself, while he was practising celibacy and abstaining from all worldly pleasures and distractions.