Shibu - Unmasking the Face Behind St Alphonsa Church Attack
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Nov 4: When the news of 24-year old Shibu Maniraj causing rampage in the church at Kankanady on Thursday November 3 night started trickling in no one who knew him could believe that Shibu was capable of carrying out such a vicious attack and that too singlehandedly. Reading some of the comments of readers, it is possible to gauge the public mood and the pain this incident has brought to Catholics just when people were trying to forget the desecration of the statue at St Theresa's School in Bendore a fortnight ago.
But the need of the hour is to exercise restraint rather than react with an emotional tinge and view the entire incident in isolation rather than projecting it as an act of fundamentalists and communalists. Of course it is the easiest thing to do considering that such incidents have become commonplace in Mangalore in the recent past.
Sensing the public mood daijiworld decided to get into the root of this incident. Shibu Maniraj is a resident of Pallakere, at Jalligudde where his family comprising his parents and younger brother live in a rented house for the past three years. The family originally belongs to Palakkad in Kerala but has been in Mangalore for many years. Shibu and his brother Sijju had their education at Adarsh School at Jalligudda. Shibu’s father Maniraj is working as driver for the Railway Department officials (it is a private job) and mother is working in some hotel. Shibu was working as a conductor on buses plying on the roads of Morgans Gate and Mangaladevi.
However, for the last two months he was at home due to ill health, as he is said to be suffering from constant stomach ache. He was also greatly perturbed by the incident of his younger brother Siijju Maniraj getting caught in a bike theft just a few months back. His house owner, a lady in her mid 30’s recounts that after the incident of bike theft Shibu was depressed and was ashamed even to go out. “He used to say that he cannot show is face to his friends and acquaintances. He was very sensitive and the incident had impacted him severely”, she recounted.
The house owner is distressed by the fact that he has been arrested and says “I really feel sorry and feel bad for Shibu. In fact one could at least believe if his brother’s name was involved in the incident because he is outgoing and has many friends. But Shibu always used to be at home and did not venture out of the house. It is wrong to say he is mentally imbalanced” she explains. She even recalls that she heard him talking over the mobile and then saying he would come. “He received a call from someone and I think it is fate which dragged him out of the house.
Even Shibu’s classmate who cannot be called as close friend Harish Poojary feels sorry for Shibu and for the mess he has found himself in. “He is a very soft guy not associated with any organizations either in the past or present. I had gone to meet him just a week ago and asked why he was not going for work. He told me he was unable to work due to his pestering stomach ache. I am greatly pained and disturbed by the turn of events”, Harish Poojary, his neighbor and classmate explains.
There is no one in Shibu's house as the police have taken his father and brother to the station. The police have also asked the house owner to vacate them from tenancy saying Shibu has committed an act that may create communal tension.
In the meanwhile there are many twists and turns to this incident which are doing the rounds and even the police seem to have got a clue as to what actually transpired. It is believed that Shibu was a regular visitor to the church. The very fact that Shibu did not run away from the scene of the incident and the occurrence of the incident at odd hours has given rise to many ifs and buts. However, nothing can be said unless the police come out with all the details pertaining to the incident.