Kattappana: The police have charged a case against 13 Forest Department officials who were involved in implicating a tribal youth in a poaching case recently.
Sarun Saji (24) even lost the government job that he was about to get through the Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) after he was accused in the poaching case, Manorama had reported earlier.
Now, a case has been charged against the Forest Department officials under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, on a complaint that Sarun was verbally abused mentioning his caste and physically assaulted.
In the case charged by Upputhara Police, Idukki Wildlife former warden B Rahul, Forester Anil Kumar, Beat Forest Officers Lenin, Jimmy, Shibin, Das, Mahesh, Shijiraj, watchers Mohanan, Jayakumar, Santhosh, Gopalakrishnan, Bhaskaran and Leelamani are named accused.
Of them, seven, including Rahul and Anil Kumar, have already been suspended from service.
The Forest department charged a case alleging that Sarun was found ferrying wild meat in his autorickshaw, on September 20. The wild meat found by the officials from elsewhere was kept in the autorickshaw and Sarun was framed with fake charges of poaching.
The current action is after the intervention of the Kerala State Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Commission seeking a report within 15 days of booking the Forest officials in the case.
Sarun was arrested by Forest Department officials on October 20. Soon after the arrest, Sarun’s parents — Saji and Nirmala — launched a hunger strike seeking justice for their son.
Forest officials had seized the banned meat from the premises of another person and had made our son a scapegoat, they claimed.
The family belongs to Puthanpurakkal House of Upputhara Panchayat of Idukki district. Sarun had succeeded in earning a college degree despite a hard struggle since childhood. His father is a mason while his mother earns some money by engaging in Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme work. Their
house is located at Mulla, a remote village with little transportation facilities.
Sarun had to walk long distances every day to reach school and college. After passing Class 10 from Government Tribal School, Kannampady, Sarun cleared Plus Two (Class 12) from St Philomena’s School, Upputhara, and B Com from Government College, Kattappana.
His name is now included in two PSC and he is eligible for a government job. However, the Forest Department case could deprive Sarun of a government appointment. The family’s plea to withdraw the case against Sarun is yet to be heard by the government even when the Forest Minister himself has admitted that the case was fabricated.