False poaching case: Tribal youth threatens suicide, demands arrest of forest officials

Sarun approached the High Court after the case against him was not withdrawn. Photo: Manorama Online

Idukki: A tribal youth has threatened suicide demanding the arrest of the forest department officials who falsely implicated him in a poaching case.

Sarun Saji (24), a resident of Upputhara in Idukki, climbed the tree in front of the Kizhukanam forest office and threatened to jump off it if the authorities failed to take the action against seven officers, whom a high-level inquiry had found guilty of foisting a bogus case against him of carrying wild animal meat in his autorickshaw.

On September 20, 2022, Saji was booked in a false case by a team led by the Kizhukanam section forest officer.

When he came out after spending 10 days in remand, the youth was reportedly summoned and arrested while travelling on a bus by the officials.

In the wake of protests and legal battles held in the area over the arrest, the superior officers of the forest department instituted an inquiry that found that it was a bogus case.

Subsequently, seven officers, including the section forest officer, were suspended from service.

Saji approached the High Court after the case against him was not withdrawn. The forest department officials delayed the proceedings despite it being clear that the case was a fabricated one.

When the protests intensified, the Forest Minister assured Sarun that the further proceedings in the case against him would be stopped. However, before the completion of the acquittal process, the Forest Department reinstated all the seven department officials who faced action.

Sarun went to the police station several times to lodge a complaint demanding action against the officers who had filed the false case, but the authorities turned a deaf ear. Finally, following the intervention of the Human Rights and Tribal Commissions, the police filed a case against 13 officials under the Scheduled Tribe Atrocities Act on December 5, 2022.

Saji wondered how the police could delay the arrest of the officials who filed the false case despite evidence against them.

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