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I’m shocked to hear about the murder of 30-year-old Madhu, a tribal man from Attapaddi in Kerala, by a gang of 15 on 22nd February 2018. Brutally assaulted by the gang alleging that he pilfered a handful of rice from a local shop, Madhu collapsed and died while being taken away in a police jeep. He was declared dead by the Government Tribal Specialty Hospital at Kottathara in Palakkad district. Madhu had been handed over to the police by an irate mob. The group of over 15 people attacked him mercilessly. According to police, Madhu had previously been accused of robbing shops and those who thrashed him were trying to nab him for quite some time. The locals claimed they have CCTV footage of Madhu stealing things from a shop. Some of them tracked him and spotted him in the hills, tied him up and dragged him to the town. They then informed the police, who reached the spot and took him into custody. It is all the more shocking that such a tragedy happened, of all places, in Kerala, a state that prides itself of being the most socially advanced in the country.


What anguished me is when I got to see the social media viral videos and “selfies” of the incident. A youngster posing for selfie with a smile. The selfie was taken just before a man was beaten to death!


We are living in a nation that is giving away rice for poor at Rs. 2. Newspaper reports say Madhu used to wander around and lived in the forest and caves. Where are we heading to? Gosh! It is a tribal man. This sordid incident is a pointer to bigger questions of the rights of the tribal people and their basic needs. Being a tribal woman myself, I wish to ask how they are supposed to live in today’s world. Tribal life has been disturbed by wrong people for wrong reasons. They have kept their core values and traditions despite challenges posed by the invasive modernity with all the social evils associated with it. But for the greed and venality of the modern world, tribes, in any part of the world, lead a healthy, happy and contented life and are totally self-sustaining.

#alpushpa #jagalur #pushpalakshmanaswamyjagalur

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