A 65-year-old CPM activist set himself on fire at Indore’s Geeta Bhavan Square in protest against CAA and NRC on Friday night, leaving behind signed pamphlets that said the laws would put India’s freedom and Constitution at risk.

Ramesh Prajapat, a tailor, stood on the pavement of AB Road, handed out of pamphlets to passersby, and then immolated himself. He is in MY Hospital in a critical condition.

The pamphlets, tagged ‘Lal Salaam’, had references to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Ashfaqullah Khan, and B R Ambedkar and ended with the words: “Tu Hindu banega na Mussalman banega, Insaan ki aulaad hai, Insaan banega’.

“The victim is not in a condition to give a statement. It will be too early to say what led him to set himself on fire,” said Tukoganj police station in-charge Nirmal Kumar Shriwas.

State CPM secretary Kailash Limbodia confirmed that Prajapat was a party worker. “We rushed to the spot as soon as we received information, but we are not sure what happened,” he said. CPM district secretary Chhotelal Sherawat said Prajapat had taken part in protests organised by the party in Indore.

Pamphlet mentions JNU, Jamia violence

The pamphlets, signed by the CPM activist, mention the recent violence at JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia University and say: “The entire country is protesting CAA. Despite imposition of Section 144, even women and children have taken to the streets. At least 30 people have died in police firing and thousands have been jailed.” Tanashashi nahin chalegi (dictatorship won’t be allowed), it says.

Police are recording statements of eyewitnesses to determine the sequence of events. “We are looking at all the evidence collected from the scene,” SPEast Yusuf Quereshi told TO