SHIVAMOGGA: Eleven people of the Hakki Pikki tribe from Sadashivapura village in Shivamogga taluk have been arrested in Rwanda. Though the arrests took place on October 4, the incident came to light only on Friday when the family members of those arrested approached the Central government for help.
The kin approached the Centre through the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Ministry of External Affairs. Ranjian, one of the tribals who was arrested, managed to send a photo of the group to tribal leader Siddappa on Whatsapp. “We, however, lost contact with the group. The police might have seized their cellphones,” said Nasik Babu, father of Raja Babu, one of the arrested people.
Siddappa told Express that all the 11 people have valid passports, visas and other necessary documents.
Nasik Babu added, “Most of our people have been visiting African countries for 10-15 years. Though we are illiterate, we do carry the necessary documents. We have hardly any work here, so we travel to foreign countries to make some money by offering our medicines. It is usually the youngsters who head to these countries with their wives.”
Hakki-Pikki tribals were ‘vagabonds’ who started living in Sadashivapura village after the government rehabilitated them. Now, the village has at least 1,500 families of the tribals.People of the Hakki Pikki tribe have been visiting African countries for the past decade for business. Interestingly, the tribals gather money through chit funds or take loans from self-help groups to cover their travel expenses. They then decide on an East African country and go there in a group of 10 to 15 people. The group then stays there for four to six months, selling their herbal medicines and even providing massages to relieve people of body aches.