The police in Kerala’s Mannar town on Monday arrested a 35-year-old man for creating and circulating fake photographs of a police officer in Sabarimala attacking him. The accused was dressed as an Ayappa devotee in the photos.
Rajesh R Kurup was arrested after S Sarath Babu, a leader of the Democratic Youth Federation of India in Chennithala filed a complaint, Mathrubhumi English reported.
The photographs were uploaded on Facebook and shared as proof of the police’s alleged atrocities against Ayappa devotees. One image showed Kurup being kicked in the chest, The News Minute reported. Another showed him being hit by a baton. Kurup later deleted the photographs but not before they were widely shared. His mobile phone has been seized and sent to the Cyber Cell for examination.
“He is a supporter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh but does not hold any major posts in the organisation,” Mannar Circle Inspector Jose Matthew told The Times of India. “He was arrested under sections 153 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 120 and 118 of the Kerala Police Act. He was later released on bail.” Matthew said Kurup had admitted to creating the fake photographs.
Protests broke out in and around Sabarimala between October 17 and October 22 as some devotees protested against the Supreme Court’s order allowing women of all ages to enter the temple. The temple reopened again on Monday evening and is scheduled to close at 10 pm on Tuesday. Several protestors heckled a woman who made it to the shrine on Tuesday morning, reports said.