Kerala is yet to overcome from the shock of the brutal lynching of an adivasi man from Attappadi. Sixteen people were arrested for the murder of hunger stricken 30-year-old Madhu, who they had accused of stealing rice and other provisions.
Days after Madhu was killed, a Kerala man's photographs are being circulated on social media, claiming to be old photographs of Madhu.
In a post that has received more than 2000 shares, an FB user George Joseph has shared what he claims to be Madhu’s "real" story. The post in Malayalam claims that Madhu, who was keen on studying went to school till Class 7 and that he had to discontinue his studies after his father's death.
"After his father died, he was forced to take up the responsibility of providing for his family. He worked along with other adivasis and went to the forest to collect honey and other items. Meanwhile, through ITDP course intended for tribals, he went to Palakkad and received training in wood works and construction works. There, he fell in love with a girl and hoped for a bright future. But her family brutally assaulted him, to the extent that he began to lose his mind. After this, he started living in isolation and came out only when he was hungry," the post claimed.
Along with the post, a photograph of a group of young men was shared, claiming that one of the men in the picture is Madhu.
Although several users shared the post, it is a fabricated tale. TNM spoke to Faisy Denson, a native of Thiruvananthapuram, whose photo is being wrongly used.
Speaking to TNM, Faisy who lives in Poonthura, said that he was taken aback to see his photograph all over social media.
"It is a gross misrepresentation. Not just my photograph, but people have also cooked up a story!," Faisy says.
What is the reality behind the photograph?
The photograph is from the year 2004, taken at KHRD college in Kochi, where Faisy studied Advanced Diploma in Hotel Management for three years.
Speaking about the photograph, 36-year-old Faisy says that it was taken on the last day of their college, inside a class room.
"On the last day, after classes, we all got together to celebrate the occasion and cut a cake. Somebody from the class had taken that picture. My friend Abhilash had made it as his profile picture on Facebook a few months ago. I had also shared this photo long time back. But never had I thought it will be lifted and used in such a manner," Faisy says.
He points out that the photographs circulated through the account of Dhanya Raman, a tribal welfare activist. The post has since been taken down.
"A junior from college sent me screenshot of the post last night. Initially I thought someone had had cracked a joke, but then I soon realised the seriousness of the matter. This junior got in touch with Dhanya Raman and told her that the picture she shared is not that of Madhu's. She then took down the post. Sometime later, she put out a clarification that she had received the photos from trusted sources. But she deleted that post also," Faisy says.
In the last few hours since the matter came to his notice, Faisy has thought many times whether to issue a clarification on social media.
"I am in a dilemma. Many told me that I should move legally against people who are circulating my photos. I wanted to post a clarification, but then I was concerned whether my post will be misinterpreted. By saying I'm not an adivasi, I do not mean to offend Madhu at all. So I wasn't sure about how to put out the clarification. But sharing these photos and a cooked-up story about a man who has died is definitely in bad taste," Faisy says.