Poet and social activist Sugathakumari on Friday said it was time society apologised to the adivasis of Attappady.

Inaugurating a seminar ‘what Attappady needs next’ and an interaction with representatives of the adivasis led by the Thaikula Sangham here, Ms. Sugathakumari said officials, politicians, contractors and middlemen over the years had conspired and walked away with all that belonged to the adivasis.

“There was a time when they had everything. It is we who destroyed whatever they had, killing them inch by inch. It is time we asked for forgiveness and returned their agriculture, land, freed their women from atrocities and men from alcohol,” she said. Pointing out that the pathetic living conditions of the adivasis had not changed despite several commissions and reports on how to help them over the last 30 years and crores of rupees spent in the name of empowerment and development, Ms. Sugathakumari said the adivasis were also being blamed for not being able to take benefit of schemes initiated for them when the truth was that bureaucrats, politicians and contractors had made off with the money.

Former Minister Benoy Viswom, V.S. Sunilkumar, MLA, Thaikula Sangham president Bhagavathi Rangan, secretary Maruthy Mari and others spoke.