A supporter of Tamil Nadu politician J Jayalalithaa nailed himself to a wooden cross on Monday demanding the AIADMK supremo’s return as chief minister while dozens of party workers watched in the state capital.
Shihan Hussaini, a 46-year-old karate champion and coach, remained hanging for more than six minutes after his associates pounded six-inch nails into his hands and feet a day ahead of Jayalalithaa’s 67th birthday.
The strapping six-foot martial arts expert himself hammered the first nail with his right hand through his left palm, leaving a crowd that had packed the small hall in Besant Nagar shrieking in shock.
“The moment the first nail went in, I was in excruciating pain ...I wanted to do something out of the ordinary for the sake of Amma, who has been the most ardent supporter of sports and sportspersons in the state,” Hussaini told Hindustan Times. “It is only with her at the helm that sports would again get the encouragement it deserves.”
Jayalalithaa was forced to step down as chief minister after a court handed her a four-year prison term and a Rs 100-crore penalty in September 2014 for illegally amassing wealth beyond her known sources of income. Though she was granted bail three weeks after her arrest, she has been banned from contesting elections for a decade.
The film star-turned-politician, popularly known as Amma, has a cult following in her state, with her conviction prompting state-wide protests and suicides by supporters.
Three more nails went in with Hussaini’s associates helping him stay suspended from the 300 kg and eight-foot-high cross, carefully built to carry his large frame.
After the four nails were slowly pulled out, Hussaini was put in a waiting ambulance and taken to the ICU of a nearby hospital. Following several tests, doctors declared him fit and the Jayalalithaa supporter was back at his Besant Nagar home by lunchtime.
The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) criticised Hussaini, with party spokesperson TKS Elangovan terming the act of crucifixion as sycophancy and called for his arrest.
“This fellow, Shihan Hussaini, always tries to somehow please Jayalalithaa so that he is benefitted. This cannot be tolerated in the country; this is highly foolish,” Elangovan said.