He has been admitted to hospital with third degree burns

A cab driver on Monday made an attempt to immolate himself on the Mullaperiyar issue in the district.

S. Jayaprakash Narayanan, (31), climbed the pedestal of Nehru statue before the Theni Central bus stand and set himself on fire after pouring kerosene. He held the statue tightly, said eyewitnesses. “My death will bring Mullaperiyar water to Theni,” he cried out. He suffered third degree burns and was rushed to the Theni Government Medical College Hospital at Gandamanur pass near Andipatti.

Later, he was referred to a private hospital in Madurai. Traffic was closed on Madurai-Theni Highway for two hours and all shops were closed after the incident. All buses from Cumbum were blocked at Krishna Theatre near Theni and buses from Madurai diverted through Forest Road and Periakulam Road.

Though it was calm on State borders near Kumili, tension spread to other parts of the district. A group of pilgrims of Bommayagoundenpatti village, who came from Sabarimala through Sengotta, alleged that a gang with helmets covering their face attacked them and the van driver at Punalur near Pathinamthitta.

The driver, Pandi, was almost fainted. They hurled stones at 21 vehicles carrying pilgrims at the spot. The pilgrims informed the Sengotta police about the incident.

Madurai bureau writes:

District Collector U. Sagayam visited the hospital and enquired with doctors about the condition of Jayaprakash Narayanan. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko and a few AIADMK MLAs also visited him at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Thamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam leader John Pandian, along with 250 partymen, observed fast demanding protection for the dam and Sabarimala pilgrims. Local people and farmers too observed fast in many villages along the Theni-Kumili Highway. Normality has returned to Cumbum and Goodalur. Lawyers boycotted courts and took out a procession in Dindigul.

The procession ended at the district court after passing through Sub-Collector's Office Road and AMC Road. A bakery and two finance and chit companies were attacked during the procession.