Friday, Aug 08, 2003
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By Our Special Correspodent
KOZHIKODE AUG. 7. A tense situation prevailed in the District Tribal Development Office at Tamarasserry, near here, for about an hour today as a group of Adivasis stormed the office demanding action to get their grievances redressed.
The agitators, who claimed that they belonged to the Adivasi Vimochana Munnani, locked the doors from inside and threatened to hold the 10 department employees hostage until their demands were met.
However, the police soon reached the place and took the agitators into custody, bringing the curtain down on the drama.
Police said 17 men and three women along with two children, who were involved in the agitation at the office, were arrested. They were residents of the Kurumarukandi colony in Puthupady panchayat and the Kolikunnu colony in Kodencherry panchayat.
Speaking to The Hindu, the Tribal Development Officer (TDO), K.T. Peethambaran, said neither he nor the nine other staff in the office suspected anything amiss when a group of Adivasis walked into the office at around 12.15 p.m.
But soon the situation became tense as they began to lock all the doors of the office and told the employees that they were going to stage a protest.
The TDO, who had taken charge only recently, told the agitators that he was not aware of their problems as he was new to the department. But Mr. Peethambaran reportedly told the agitators that he would take action as soon as he was informed of their problems.
The protesters, however, reportedly said that they did not want to discuss their problems with the TDO. They said they would talk only to the District Collector. The TDO spoke to the District Collector over the telephone and informed him of the Adivasis' demands. The Adivasis then demanded that the Collector come to the office for direct talks.
By then the police had been informed. They rushed to the scene, forced open the locked doors of the office and soon brought the situation under control. The agitators gave themselves up to the police. They were later released on bail.
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