Nilambur (Malappuram): Karimbuzha Mathan,73, belonging to the Cholanaikar tribe in Kerala who was invited by the President as a special guest 17 years ago to attend Republic Day function in Delhi, met with a tragic death after being attacked by a wild elephant.
Cholanaikars are described by anthropologists and sociologists as the only tribe in Asia which still lives in caves. Mathan who had become the face of Cholanaikar tribe after attending the function in Delhi ironically became a victim of an elephant attack on the Republic Day on Wednesday.
The tragic incident took place when Mathan along with two young relatives went to Manjeri colony to procure rice in exchange for forest produce.
The wild elephant attacked him near Valkettumala in a deep forest at Karulayi. The elephant lifted Mathan with its trunk, tossed him on the ground and stomped him.
The elephant then lifted him again and threw on the rocks. Mathan died on the spot. The two youth who accompanied him managed to run away and save themselves from the wrath of the rogue elephant.
Mathan and his wife lived at Aalayi, near Valkettumala, which is 35 km away from Karulai. The couple is childless. They earned their livelihood selling forest products like honey and white dammer (resin).
Mathan's body was cremated after postmortem.