February 18, 2020
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The Wretched Of The Earth Take To Poisoned Arrows

The Wretched Of The Earth Take To Poisoned Arrows
The genie is out and it’s none other than chief minister A.K. Antony who has uncorked the bottle. His wish to go down in history as a great reformer—he’d made the grand proclamation that his government would distribute land to Kerala’s landless tribals—came to a naught when pent-up adivasi frustration took the form of direct action.

When hundreds of tribals under the Adivasi Gothra Maha Sabha banner occupied the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary for more than a month, Antony’s regime turned openly repressive.

The tribals fought pitched battles with the cops inside the forest with bows and arrows and sickles, reportedly took a policeman hostage and killed another. The police retaliated by opening fire, beating up women and children and arresting several others, including popular tribal leaders C.K. Janu and M. Geetanandan.

The police repression has led to a public outrage. Arundhati Roy has dashed off a strong letter to Antony in which she noted that it was "the unforgivable and cynical delay in delivering the land promised by the government of Kerala to the poorest and the most needy of people that has resulted in an unfortunate and needlessly brutal confrontation that would make any citizen of Kerala ashamed".

Wayanad’s native population, subjected to a slow death by the British and by the settlers from other parts of Kerala, have been living in acute deprivation.

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