MALAPPURAM: In an exemplary move to avert a communal flare-up, the police on Sunday arrested a man with criminal records who was behind the attack on a temple in Pookkottumpadam near Nilambur in the district. Police identified him as Mohanakumar S. S., a native of Kilimanoor in Thiruvananthapuram district who confessed to vandalising the temple and idols at three separate sanctum sanctorum areas of the Vilvoth Shiva Temple in Pookkottumpadam late Friday night. The accused has been booked under IPC Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion) and Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class).
He will be produced before the Nilambur First Class Judicial Magistrate on Monday. The police would seek his custody for further questioning as he had already confessed to two past crimes — another temple attack in Vaniyambalam in the district on January 19 and murder in Kilimanoor. The police had been groping in the dark for the past four months on the vandalising of Banapuram Devi Temple in Vaniyambalam. He admitted that he ransacked its office and equipment and destroyed the idol.
“This has been verified by examining his fingerprints. Besides this, he has also admitted a 2006 murder in Kilimanoor. We are examining his suspected involvement in more such cases,” district police chief Debesh Kumar Behera said. The police was not able to trace the killer of Kamalakshi who was found dead in a temple pond in Kilimanoor even after a decade. He was also convicted and jailed for six months in connection with a case of attacking police at Nilambur in 2008.
The police took him into custody on Saturday with the help of the temple committee members who noticed him in Pookkottumpadam town under suspicious circumstances on the day of the incident. The accused had earlier told the police that his name was Rajaram Mohandas Potti and a native of Kowdiar in Thiruvananthapuram. However, a detailed interrogation brought his true identity to light with the help of social media, police said. He was residing in Mampad in the district for the past nine years doing construction works after leaving his native place. The timely intervention of the temple committee helped to catch him. DySP M.P Mohanachandran said they kept vigil and were keenly watching the organised attempts on social media platforms taking advantage of the attack to spread communal enmity. Actions will be taken against those who found involved in such activities, he said.