The Mooppans Council representing the tribal chiefs of 192 tribal hamlets of Attappady Hills in the District has demanded Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Rural Development Minister K.C. Joseph to withdraw their “derogatory statement made against the tribal community including women that they were all alcoholic addicts.”
In a statement at Agali on Thursday the Council President M. Kali Mooppan has said that such statements were made to defame to the tribal community of Attappady which is in grief over the death of 34 tribal infants during the last six months due to malnutrition.
The statement said that the tribal people used to engage themselves in manual labouring for survival and to escape from starvation.
“When we are struggling so much to survive such statements of alcoholism even against our pregnant women were cruel and uncivilized act from those holding highest positions of Government in the State”, the Council chief said.
He has demanded Chief Minister and Rural Development Minister to withdraw their derogatory statements made against the tribal community and apologies to the Kerala society.
Mr. Kali Moppna has said that if the statements against the tribal community were not withdrawn a mass agitation will be launched demanding it.
The tribal community in Attappady will observe Independence Day on August 15 as a ‘day of grief’ and the government officials belonging to the tribal community will take ‘one-day mass leave’ to protest against the derogatory statements.
The students of schools and colleges in Attappady will also take ‘mass leave’ and a `silent demonstration’ demanding the withdrawal of statements made against the tribal community of Attappady will be organised, the statement said.
In a separate statement `Thampu’ an organization working among tribal people has condemned the derogatory statements made against the tribal community in Attappady.
The President of the organization Rajendra Prasad has said that instead of trying to help tribal community to save them from starvation and malnourishment the Chief Minister and the Rural Development Minister were making baseless allegations against them insulting even the womanhood.
The reports of death of infants, malnutrition and aneamia among tribal people were coming out from other districts of the State also.
This indicates that there is something basically wrong with the tribal policies and programmes in the State, he said.