A Facebook post on communal violence by Dr Nelson Joseph, who practices at Lakeshore Hospital in Kochi, has gone viral and is now being discussed and debated widely by netizens across the country.

In his write-up titled 'An open letter to all Indians from Kerala', Nelson discusses an incident where a temple in Malappuram was vandalised and points out how certain powerful 'leaders' use lies and deceit to create differences between people of varied backgrounds and religions.

The original letter in Malayalam had over 2300 reactions and was shared over 1700 times on Facebook, while the English version saw 1900 reactions and 1400 shares. Several politicians, celebrities and activists such as filmmaker Aashiq Abu, have promoted the post. The English version of the letter also found tremendous popularity on Twitter and Reddit, stirring strong debates.

Let's first take a look at the incident in question. On Saturday, a temple in a village near Nilambur in Malappuram district was found desecrated and the idols vandalised. The incident was almost immediately followed by a hartal led a couple of Hindutva groups. Then commenced a campaign, both direct and through social media, urging Hindus in Kerala to be ready to open refugee camps across the southern districts of the state. There were also rumours of an even bigger ‘an attack on Hindus’ and possible Muslim involvement. This resulted in the escalation of the religious tension in the area and, to a lesser extent, across the state.

Mohanakumar SS. Photo courtesy: Twitter

However, the incident didn't boil over to anything untoward, thanks to the Kerala police. Within 24 hours the local cops arrested Mohanakumar SS, a Thiruvananthapuram native, in connection with the temple desecration case and booked him under IPC Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion) among other sections. Though Mohanakumar confessed to the crime, when asked about the motive he would only say that he did it to protest against the bad customs in the Hinduism. The police said he is a goon for hire and is an accused in a murder that happened 11 years ago.

Nelson's letter raises a few important questions regarding the incidents. Mohanakumar travelled more than 350 kms just to protest against bad customs. And just by co-incidence he chose a temple in the district with the largest Muslim population in the state. Also, the incident happened the very next day after the cattle slaughter ban order was announced and on the first day of Ramadan and the day of the beef fests. Too much of a co-incidence, don't you think? 

The doctor also points out that prior to the 2002 Gujarat riots, a prominent local newspaper had reported an incident that the bodies of two Hindu women were found on the banks of a river. It was proved to be a fabricated story days later but the damage was already done.

Nelson concludes the letter by warning his fellow Indians that these incidents will keep on happening. He also lists out three things we should all take into consideration at testing times.

Do not jump to conclusions. If someone says that "Hindus are not allowed to venture out to the Attingal sea", first ask is it true or at least ask does Attingal have a sea or a beach or at least a lagoon.

If someone poses as your savior or of your religion, first think who will have the ultimate gain. You or him? If a leader tells you to go and kill someone for Hindutva/ Christianity/ Islam, first think is it for him or for the betterment of "said religion".

We are educated for a reason. Ask for the source of facts and figures. Try to understand the truth.

The doctor signs off with the words "No one - neither some leader at Delhi or Lok Sabha or somewhere else - can replace your immediate neighbour in the time of need."

Read the full post in English here: