BJP State President Kummanam Rajasekharan Tuesday began a 24-hour fast to protest against the lynching of tribal man by a mob at Attapady in Palakkad district on February 23. Rajasekharan along with other NDA leaders, their hands tied with red ribbons, staged the sit in dharna with a banner that read ‘Madhu we are sorry, pardon us’ and ‘Kerala the land of the devils’ in front of the state secretariat here.
The leaders also demanded resignation of Minister for welfare of Scheduled Tribes A K Balan, publication of a white paper on the amount spent for tribals’ welfare and Rs 25 lakh to be given to the family of the tribal man, Madhu. Meanwhile, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes chairman Nand Kumar Sai said visited Madhu’s family at their home at Chidakka in the tribal hamlet in Attapady. Speaking to reporters later, he said forest officials had failed to prevent the mob from beating up Madhu. He also wanted steps to improve water and road connectivity to the area.
CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who also visited Madhu’s home, said the government should ensure exemplary punishment to those sponsible for his death. Special packages should be evolved to address the problems in tribal colonies, he said.
The 30-year-old Madhu was allegedly beaten to death by local people who accused him of stealing food articles from some shops at forest-fringe town at Agali near Palakkad on February 22. Tribals and human rights activists had staged protests in various parts of the state after photos and visuals of the fatal attack went viral on social media besides being telecast by TV channels. At least 16 persons have so far been arrested in connection with the incident.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had stated in the assembly that the government would take all necessary steps to ensure maximum punishment to the accused in the case and also initiate steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents. The state government has sanctioned Rs 10 lakh from the Chief Minister’s relief fund to Madhu’s mother, of which Rs four lakh was handed over to the family as the first instalment by the welfare Minister when he visited them recently.