D. Radhakrishnan

Udhagamandalam: Members of the Toda tribal community staged a demonstration in front of the Collectorate here on Thursday.

The demonstration was led by their chieftain T.Adayalakuttan. It was to express their resentment to the alleged distortion of an important aspect of their culture by a private television channel.

Taking umbrage to the derogatory manner in which the programme presenter had depicted marriage, pregnancy and the related celebrations, the members raised slogans against the channel. The programme had been telecast on Wednesday night.

Vijayasin, the Toda woman of Nedimund near Hullikal whose interview on the subject had formed part of the programme claimed that her views had been misrepresented. A prominent member of the community A.Sathyaraj told The Hindu that henceforth newspaper stories or television programmes on the culture or other aspects of the Todas will not be allowed to come out without the approval of an ad-hoc committee.

Mr. Adayalakuttan said that the ancient Todas have since yore been practicing a traditional marriage style where the main celebrations take place when the bride is pregnant.

Pointing out that the narration had hurt the sentiments of the Todas, he said those responsible should tender an apology. The record should be set right. If not a defamation case will be filed.