How to kill unwed Adivasi mothers' children ?

(Special Story)
(Mukundan C. Menon)

As against recent claims made by the outgoing Kerala Women's Commission and Legislative Committee for SC-ST Welfare about "successfully" fixing fatherhood of unwed Adivasi mothers' children "at least" in few cases through DNA tests, reports from Wayanad tribal district of Kerala exposed an altogether novel method evolved by the culprits to eliminate such children soon after birth to escape from punishment as well as responsibility.

This widely practiced brutal practice is to put a grain of unhusked rice into the mouth of the newly born. As the grain would block breath, the death of the child will be instantaneous!

This shocking revealations was made by today's (March 21) Malayalam daily, "Madhyamam". The report said that this age-old practice, rampant in Usilamppatti area of Tamil Nadu, is rampantly going on among tribals of Wayanad without the knowledge of outside world. Although done in utmost secrecy, the report identified at least two specific instances during the past one year. Besides this, several other methods were employed to eliminate such infants.

Those who are impregnating the tribal girls giving false promises of marriage, especially the powerful encroachers of tribal land, are behind these brutalities. "These day-light gentlemen are ensuring the death of such infants by bribing the relatives of the unwed mother. Even some Adivasi grand-mothers are mute witness to this brutality. However, they are afraid of revealing it due to the influence and money-power wielded by the culprits", the report added.

The "Madhyamam" report said that sexual exploitation of tribal girls through enticement by non-tribals constitutes a serious offence under the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC-STs Act. According to this Act, the police is empowered to slap charges of non-bailable offence on the culprits accused with sexual exploitation of tribals.

Even if cases of such sexual exploitation can be settled by giving money, a living child born out of such relationship will pose a constant threat as well as plugs all loopholes for the culprits to escape from punishment from the criminal offence. Hence, they resort to the brutal methods of eliminating new born infants.

The report also said that at least two dozen children of unwed tribal mothers during the past two years in Wayanad had died under mysterious circumstances within days after delivery.

Referred by:Mukundan C Menon
Published on: March 21, 2001
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