Idukki: estate owner captures tribal land; three tribals missing
Thiruvananthapuram, March 29: The situation related to the ongoing tribal agitation at Kundalakudi near Munnar, Idukki district, took an ugly turn for the worse when goondas of a tea-estate owner forcibly captured the tribal lands after launching a fierce attack and driven away the tribals, burnt the tribal huts, and took three tribals as captives into forests. A formal complaint has been given to Chief Minister E. K. Nayanar and SC-ST Minister K. Radhakrishnan here this evening pleading to deploy police for rescuing the missing tribals. At the same time, as was reported yesterday, all those injured in the earlier attack, including tribal leader Ms. C. K. Janu, are still convalescing in the hospital at Adimali.
Those who were held as captive by the goondas belong to "Adivasi Thamizhaga Munnani" and who resisted the attack. They are Nagapandi, Rajan and Appachi. The goondas had active support of ruling CPI's local leaders as well as the police.
Through goondas, the estate owner captured the very premises which was earlier seized by the tribals after demolishing the proposed engineering college building at Kundalakudi. Following the earlier attack on tribals, the Munnar police had reached the place, stood guard at the premises by keeping away both sides in the name of maintaining law and order. The fact that, the disputed premises under police control had now fallen into the possession of the rich estate-owner establishes the connivance of police and ruling politicians in the entire episode.
The goondas, who reached the spot in the estate vehicles, spread terror in the entire area by burning the huts and driven away the tribals, including women, by attacking them physically. The three tribals, who resisted the attack, were captured and driven away in a jeep to unknown destination. According to late reports, all the three were taken into the forests where they were kept as tied to a tree.
Although prompt complaints were given to Munnar police about the attack and taking three tribals as captives, they have not interfered.
Meanwhile, somebody posing as belonging to People's War Group (PWG) of Naxalites from Kannur in Northern Kerala reached Kundalakudi and announced to reporters plans to launch an armed struggle. This person himself was later beaten-up. After announcing the proposed launching of armed struggle to press reporters, the same person was later seen sending a fax-message from Munnar to the Chief Minister "pleading to deploy police to protect the tribals"! It is to be recalled that the same group of persons made a public announcement last year about launching of a "long march" to Thiruvananthapuram in connection with a similar tribal land agitation at Kannur. However, none heard about the "long march" later.
Informed sources say that they are simply faking in Kerala the name of PWG, a militant CPI-ML group in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Central Bihar areas. For, their method of functioning like announcing "armed struggle" or "long march" to the press in advance, was entirely different from PWG. It was also pointed out that these people simply jump into areas where genuine mass struggles are taking place to make bogus "revolutionary claims" for the sake of cheap publicity. Viewed from this angle, there are several SC-ST groups who doubt them as agent-provocateurs to scuttle chances of building-up mass movements.