Lovers hide in forest; survive on fruits and roots; nabbed after 23 days
Moolamattom: Lovers who eloped and stayed in the forest for 23 days were nabbed the other day by police here. The youngsters were identified as George (Appukuttan, 21), a native of Melukavu and 17-year-old girl, a native of Kumily. The duo was nabbed by police with the help of natives after days-long search in the forest.
In the wee hours on Tuesday, Appukuttan and the girl happened to come across police with a sack full of things as headload. They were moving to Kolapra on the Thodupuzha-Puliyanmala state high way. After spotting police, both of them ran but in two different directions. Being tired of running, the girl approached a house at Saramkuthi and asked for water.
The family provided her food and water and offered her a rest place. Locals who arrived at the spot after learning about the matter, handed over her to police. Appukuttan who ran to Anakkayam area through Kudayathur was nabbed by locals who chased him. He was also handed over to the police.
Appukuttan was a tree climber by profession and happened to meet the girl at Kumily when he reached there for areca palm climbing. They fell in love and on January 6, the girl ran away with Appukuttan when she went to church.
The Kumily police were unsuccessful in their first mission to find them. Later, the parents of the girl filed a habeas corpus in high court. Meanwhile, natives found out that the duo were hiding inside the forest near Appukuttan’s house. Following that, a battalion of police under Kattappana DySP were assigned to comb the forest and find the couple.
Appukuttan knew well the steep and thick forest. Thus, the couple survived in the forest so long by eating wild fruits and roots.
A police-and-thief game
The couple in the forest tricked police for 23 days. As the girl’s parents filed a habeas corpus, the police were pushed to a desperate situation. Thus, over hundred police personnel under Kattappana division were assigned for find out them. Being unsuccessful in the forest, police sought the help of natives to search deep inside the forest.
In the combined search, Appukuttan’s bike was found and his mobile tower location was also traced. Later, mobile tower tracing came to a dead end as his mobile was switched off. Meanwhile, pealed coconuts and banana were found. Girl’s clothes were also found. It led to suspicion that the girl was murdered. Finally, police and locals began camping here and search in the forest.
Few times, Appukuttan was traced on far away mountain, but as the police reached the spot, he fled to another mountain. Steep rocky forest challenged the police. Finally, the 15-days-long police-and-thief game ended on Tuesday.
Kattappana police took the young man to Peermade.