Nalla Thampi Thera Paramananda, a prominent fighter for the cause of the tribal people, died here on Wednesday night following cardiac arrest. He was 77.

Dr. Nalla Thambi Thera Paramananda of the Neelikkandy quarters at Kalpetta is survived by his wife Kamala and two children. His mortal remains were cremated at a public graveyard at Vithukaudu, near Mepadi, at noon on Thursday.

Dr. Thera was an ardent fighter and supporter of tribal issues in the State. He had waged a legal war against the denial of land rights to tribals in the Kerala High Court and in the Supreme Court many times for the last three decades.

In 1976, Dr. Thera began his career as a medical practitioner at Wandoor in Malappuram district after graduating in Medicine in 1973. In 1976, he reached Wayanad district and since then worked in almost all rural areas in the district among the tribal people.

When the State government failed to restore the alienated lands of the tribal people, as per the Kerala Scheduled Tribes Restriction on Transfer and Restoration of Alienated lands Act, 1975, he filed a case before the Supreme Court to direct the government to implement it. Finally the Court directed the State government to distribute one acre of land to landless tribal people within six months in 1999.

He had contested against the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Rae Bareilly Parliament constituency in 1977. Dr. Thera fought against what he perceived as “injustice” during the Emergency and contested against Rajeev Gandhi in 1984 at Amethi.

He had filed many public interest litigations in the Supreme Court and High Courts. He had filed a petition before the High Court of Bombay and Madras on the Bofors issue against Rajeev Gandhi and against Indira Gandhi on the West German submarine deal.

Several people belonging to all walks of life reached his house on Thursday to offer homage. Though he was a doctor by profession, he had completed his graduation in law too.