Plight of exIAF official exposes shoddy probe
SULTHAN BATHERY: The agonising plight of Jayakumar, a former Indian Air Force official who has been charged in two cases related to the Muthanga agitation, has once again brought to light the carelessness with which the Forests Department investigated a case that rocked the state for years.
The Muthanga agitation, organised under the auspices of the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha (AGMS) led by C K Janu in the interiors of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in 2003, had a catastrophic end in which two persons a tribal man and a policeman were killed in police firing.
It was widely alleged that the Police and Forest Departments slapped many cases under various sections, including criminal conspiracy and murder, against the tribal people and others after the agitation. Many residents at the Ponkuzhy tribal settlement, who had opposed the AGMS, also were implicated in the cases.
The police had arrested K K Surendran, a lecturer at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), here, alleging that he was the master brain behind the agitation. The police and the Crime Branch, which investigated the case, tried to portray him as an extremist.
However, the CBI, which took over the case later, exonerated him. For many years, Surendran was denied his salary, and was under medical treatment for the torture meted out to him when he was in police custody.
"The Forests Department had slapped cases against innocent people according to their whims and fancies and the case against Jayakumar is the latest,"
K K Surendran told Express. "It would give a temporary satisfaction to the officials, but what about the trauma that the victims go through," he asks.
"The Forests Department investigated the cases so carelessly that many innocent citizens were caught in a legal wrangle," said Adv T M Rasheed of Sulthan Bathery. "They have arrested only 60 persons who were in the list of accused, and failed to nab a majority of the accused.
"Above all, the chargesheet was filed after seven years," he pointed out.
"We had moved bail applications for all our members. We had noticed the name of Jayakumar from Nilamel in the list, but avoided him as he was a stranger," said M Geethanandan, who led the agitation.