It is a photograph that sent shock waves across Kerala. It is a photograph that will haunt the state and its people for years to come. A thin, frail man's hands are tied together with a lungi, his shirt torn, as he stares into the eyes of his attacker.
30-year-old Madhu, an Adivasi man from Attappadi was beaten to death last week and one of the photographs of him before his death showed Madhu standing with both his hands tied up.
On Saturday, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan tweeted a photograph of himself, with his hands tied up.
He shared the photo saying: "En route Attappady Tribal Village. Please join and pledge your support for #ISupportKeralaAdivasis."
However, Kummanam's gesture soon drew flak from people online, who labelled the act as a publicity stunt and an attempt at defaming Madhu.
While many accused Kummanam of insulting Madhu, several others questioned how Kummanam and his party stood for the minorities. Some others termed it as "fancy dress," ridiculing the BJP leader, saying he could be considered for the Best Drama Award!
While Kummanam tweeted only one photograph, soon, two more photographs began to circulate online. In one of the photographs, the colour of the cloth tied around his hands was different. This also led to Kummanam facing flak for organising a photo-op.
"What is this, a fancy dress competition?" asked one person.
"Please don't kill Madhu over and over again," said another person.
മധുവിനെ വീണ്ടും വീണ്ടും കൊല്ലുന്നതെന്തിനാണ് ഹേ..— സ്റ്റാലിൻ (@s_tali_n) February 24, 2018
"Ho, will theatre actors do such kind of rehearsals?" reads this meme.
"Can someone not untie his hands?" reads this meme.
As Kummanam Rajasekharan's act began to draw flak on social media, a few BJP members too posted similar photographs with their hands tied up.
Soon, Kummanam denied that he had posed for the pictures to be taken and asserted that he has only posted one photograph on social media.
"I did not pose for multiple photographs, that's a wrong allegation," Kummanam was quoted as saying.