Karnataka, Mangalore, April 18:
In what has been viewed as a coercive tactic to evict tribals from the forest to facilitate the implementation of Kudremukh National Park (KNP) project, police and the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) allegedly have subjected a tribal youth to physical and mental torture.
Poovappa Malekudiya (32), a tribal youth of Anjarottu in Kuthlur village of Naravi Gram Panchayat in Belthangadi taluk in the district, was the victim of police and ANF atrocity.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Poovappa said he was picked up by the police and the ANF personnel and later was beaten up severely at an unidentified place.
I was blilndfolded and taken to unknown location and tortured. They connected a live electric wire to my body and hit me very badly, he said.
They tortured me just because I am not willing to handover my land for the KNP project, Poovappa asserted.
Poovappas advocate Shivakumar said a complaint will be sent to the Human Rights Commission.
In naxal supporters list
According to police records, Poovappa is one of the 11 naxal supporters in Kuthlur village. The naxal supporters list also had carried the names of Vasantha Malekudiya and Dinakara, who were killed in ANF encounter.
Dinakara of Bartaje in Kuthlur village was killed in an encounter two years ago, Vasantha, a resident of Kotyandadka, was killed in on March 1. Now the police and ANF are in search of Vasanthas sister Sundari, who has gone missing. Police suspect that Sundari might have joined the naxal group after her brothers death.
Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Gopal B Hosur said police must have picked Poovappa and interrogated him to cross-check his relation to naxal group. He, however denied villagers allegations of police using coercive tactics to evict tribals from the forest to facilitate development of KNP project.
Opposition to KNP
Of the 42 Malekudiya families in Kuthlur village, thirty-six are not willing to hand over their house and agriculture land to the government. Six families have agreed. Chandu Gowda of Alambe, said he will not hand over his two acres of land and house, even if they pay him Rs 20 lakh. Lingappa Malekudiya, a resident of Anjarottu, also said that he is not willing to hand over his land.
I will not vacate the forest till the end of my life, said Udaya Malekudiya, another tribal of Berengadi