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Mathan, face of Cholanaikar tribe and Republic Day invitee, trampled to death by wild elephant

Recognised as the face of the Cholanaikar community, Mathan participated the Republic Day celebrations in 2005 in New Delhi with his wife Karikka.

Published: 28th January 2022 06:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2022 06:33 PM   |  A+A-

Karimpuzha Mathan

Karimpuzha Mathan's smile was one many couldn't help but remember . (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

MALAPPURAM: Karimpuzha Mathan, 73, a member of the Cholanaikar tribe and one of the invitees to the Republic Day celebrations in 2005, who was living in Valkkettu hill in Karulai forest was killed by a wild elephant on Wednesday, another Republic Day.

Forest officials said he was trampled to death while he was on his way to Mancheeri to collect his ration kit. The spot where Mathan was killed is 12 km away from Mancheeri.

The incident occurred between Valkkettu hill and Panappuzha.

Chathan, 16, who was with Mathan had a narrow escape. But Mathan could not run away from the elephant due to his advanced age.

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Recognised as the face of the Cholanaikar community, Mathan participated the Republic Day celebrations in 2005 in New Delhi with his wife Karikka. "He was one of the special personalities in the community. He was always seen with a smiling face," said Nilambur Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) project officer T Sreekumaran.

Mathan's family is eligible to get Rs 10 lakh from the forest department and Rs 2 lakh from the tribal department, Sreekumaran said.

Many people took to social media to express their shock.

"I felt really sad hearing about the death of Mathan even though I have met him only once in my life. I can not forget his smile. I met him in 2019. He is from Cholanaikar community. The population of the community is only around 250. They live in cave settlements in the forest," wrote M Suchitra, an independent journalist, who had earlier written an article about the community in 2009.

After the post mortem, Mathan's mortal remains were buried in the forest on Thursday.



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