Collector suspends two officers over Kerala farmer suicide

District Collector U V Jose has suspended two officers of the Chempanoda village office for failing to accept land tax from Kavilpurayidam Veetil Joy who took the extreme step on Thursday.

Published: 23rd June 2017 08:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2017 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

Kozhikode Rural SP K V Pushkaran and Perambra CI Sunil Kumar having a word with Joy’s brother Baby at his house in Chembanoda on Thursday | T P Sooraj

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: District Collector U V Jose has suspended two officers of the Chempanoda village office for failing to accept land tax from Kavilpurayidam Veetil Joy who took the extreme step on Thursday. Village officer Sunny and village assistant Sireesh have been suspended as part of the inquiry. The Collector visited the village office on Thursday after people protested and prevented the police from taking Joy’s body for postmortem. They demanded the presence of the Collector. Jose told the media appropriate action will be taken against the officers who refused to accept land tax from Joy.

Electricity Minister M M Mani visited Joy’s house and said a comprehensive inquiry would be conducted. He also criticised revenue officers for failing to accept tax. “The incident is unfortunate and the actions of some officers tarnish the image of the government. The fault of revenue officers led to the suicide,” the minister said.

Land woes of farmers

Kozhikode: On December 31, 2015, Joseph Kaniyarathu, a settler farmer from Kakkadampoyil, had committed suicide allegedly after the Forest Department initiated measures to attach his farmland. As per department records, the area Joseph started cultivating several decades ago was part of the forest. The farmers’ organisations and the local residents alleged the Forest Department’s decision to unlawfully attach the farmland abetted the suicide. The incident had triggered widespread protests against the department’s alleged move to attach farmlands of about 40 settler farmers in the area. “Even as the state government has made amendments to the Kerala Land Assignment (Regularisation of Occupation of Forest Lands prior to 1-1-1977) Special rules and has given directions in this regard, the bureaucrats give scant regard to these directions,” Malayora Karshaka Action Committee District Chairman O D Thomas said.

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