Tribal youth slapped with fabricated case; family demands fair investigation

The forest department had arrested Sarin Saji on September 29 alleging that he tried to sell wild meat.

Sarin Saji with his mother Nirmala

Idukki: Kizhukanam section forester Anil Kumar was transferred after a complaint was booked against an adivasi youth in a fabricated case. Kumar was transferred to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. Forest minister’s office said that a departmental inquiry is being conducted.

The forest department had arrested Sarin Saji on September 29 alleging he tried to sell wild meat. Adivasi organisations had come out saying it was a false case. Political parties including CPM and CPI had protested the action.

Officials said that they inspected Sarin’s auto after getting information that he had wild meat in possession. Forest department officials have alleged that they found 2 kilograms of what is thought to be sambar deer’s meat from his auto.

According to the protesters, Sarin had crossed the Vanmavu check post at around 6 am on September 29, where his auto was inspected. Nothing was found in his possession at the time.

The 24-year-old then left for Pala after parking his auto at Valacode. Forest officers asked him to return when he reached Vagaman. When he returned, he was taken into custody without reason, they said. The protesters accused that the police might have placed the meat in the auto and Sarin was brutally beaten by the officials.

In such cases, officers above the rank of range officer signs the Mahasar report to be submitted in the court. However, in this case, the forester has signed the report.

The protesters and his relatives are of the opinion that even though the range officer arrived at the spot of the incident, he did not sign the report raising suspicion of a fabricated case. No test has yet been conducted to prove it was wild meat.

Forest officers said that all procedures were followed and the accusations raised against them were baseless.

Sarin, who is a BCom graduate, figures in three PSC rank lists. He makes money to feed his family by riding auto, which is now in the custody of forest department. His family is demanding a fair investigation in the case so that they will have a better life.

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