The anti-social elements never waste time in igniting communal tension. Utmost vigilance and determination is required to dout even a spark of ignorance without letting it to explode.
The incident in which the Vilvoth Shiva temple in Pookkottumpadam near Nilambur in Malappuram district was desecrated and the way in which the temple authorities, locals and the police came together to handle the issue, proved just that. Given the present volatile circumstances prevailing in the country, the incident had all the might to cause a communal flare-up. However, the police who acted with vigilance and tracked down the culprit, deserve an applause. The criminal S S Mohanakumar, 42, a native of Kilimanoor in Thiruvananthapuram, who had been engaged in the vandalisation of temples and idols, was arrested and the poisonous campaigns unleashed by the Sangh Parivar forces on the pretext of the attack was defused due to the timely intervention of the authorities. But the government should continue with the investigation to uncover the mystery behind the incident and to bring all the threatening forces behind the heinous act before the law.
According to the primary report released by the police, it was Mohanakumar who vandalised the Banapuram Devi Temple in Vaniyambalam in the district on January 19. Rajaram Mohan Roy Potti, the name told to the police when he was caught, was fake. He is also accused in the murder of an elderly woman in kilimanoor in 2006. Her body was recovered from the temple pond. Mohanakumar who had planned to desecrate the idols in Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and Guruvayur Temple, is said to hold an aversion towards idols and priests which might have prompted the attacks. The police say that he is not associated with any organization. But the veracity of the statement given by the culprit who tried to sabotage the investigation by providing false information to the police, should be revealed during further questioning.
The peace seekers believe that in the present scenario when a notification to ban the sale of cattle for slaughter was issued on the first day of Ramadan fast and the widespread protests against the order are rife, the accused making such an attempt and also receiving the immense support of the regressive communal forces, shouldn’t be seen as trivial. As soon as the incident came to light, the Sangh Parivar outfits took to the streets with poisonous rants and threatening slogans that stirred up religious hatred. Many posts came up on social media insinuating that the life of Hindus in Malappuram district was turning miserable. Attempts were made to disrupt the All party meet called by the MLA. The efforts of the Fascists was to hold the majority community in the district responsible for the incident. Even after the police released the name and other details of the accused, the right-wing forces were feverishly trying to link him with the party as well as the religion they opposed.
There are complaints that the accused who carried out activities that had the potential to create fissures within the society in Malappuram district as well as the state, have been charged with trivial offences. Besides a statement from the police, no further actions have been taken against those who tried to fan the incident into a communal riot. If the temple attacks are the wrongdoings of an anti-social element, then he should be given an exemplary punishment in order to convince the society. If the accused has the backing of the communal fanatics who have been trying to turn the district into a riot-torn area, appropriate steps should be taken to tackle the issue. The attempt of these hostile elements to problematize the district is not new.
Even before the rumblings of the Babri Masjid demolition and Mumbai riots died down, an RSS worker was killed in an explosion while manufacturing a bomb on September 6, 1993 in Tanur. After two days, attempts to blast a procession to be held on the day of Sri Krishna Jayanthi and trying to put blames on the Muslim religious terrorists, went futile. The then police superintendent Oommen Koshy had said that it was God’s grace; else Malappuram district would have burnt down in communal riots. The Pookkottumpadam incident was also a similar one. But if the culprits and those behind them have loopholes to escape, they will make repeated attempts to aggravate the heinous acts. This would pave way for more volatile circumstances. If a proper investigation with no loopholes isn’t carried out and a fitting punishment isn’t awarded, Malappuram as well as Kerala, wouldn’t always be saved by God’s grace.