Idukki's Malapandaram tribe votes for the first time

Idukki's Malapandaram tribe votes for the first time
People from Malambandaram community expressing their joy after casting their vote at the Satram booth in Vandiperiyar panchayath. Photo: Manorama

Peermedu: Malapandaram, a nomadic tribe which lives in the deep forests in Idukki district, made history on Tuesday when members of the community voted for the first time in elections.

Of the 31 registered voters among the tribals, 17 cast their votes in the local body polls held on Tuesday. The remaining 14 who were deep inside the forest could not make it to the polling booths.

While nine of them voted in Sathram booth of Vandiperiyar panchayat, eight exercised their franchise at the Vallakadavu booth.

The Malapandaram tribal groups historically subsisted on hunting and gathering. They earn their livelihood selling produce collected from deep inside the forest. For years they have been living without any connection with the outside world.

The local ST promoter PG Prema had approached the state election commission to obtain voting rights for them. The tribals who arrived from deep inside the forest on Monday night, reached Sathram in Vandeperiyar early morning on Tuesday.

After changing their traditional attire,  the tribal voters clad in casual clothes arrived at the booth to cast their votes. They were accompanied by the ST department’s facilitator.

The poll officials briefed them about the method to vote.

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