‘No’ to vote! Adivasi youth in protest mode

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Priya, the cousin of Madhu who was lynched in Kerala, says that before elections people will be very nice and helpful, but not after

Even as a literate Kerala continues its hard struggle to efface the shame of lynching Adivasi youth Madhu at Attappady in February last year, the victim’s cousin told The Hindu that she is averse to voting in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Nineteen-year-old K.M. Priya from Kadukamanna Ooru of Attappady has even refused to get her name enrolled in the voters’ list. It’s a way of protest by this young Kurumba woman who has not yet completely overcome the shock inflicted by a section of the people who beat her cousin Madhu to death.

“We are a neglected lot always. Before the elections, people will be very nice and helpful, but not after,” Ms. Priya said. A first-year economics undergraduate at Government College, Malappuram, Ms. Priya said poverty was not the main issue her community faced living deep inside Attappady.

The real issue

“We are destined to spend more than ₹500 to buy a sanitary pad worth ₹50. Still they talk about development. Poverty is not an issue, but malnutrition is,” she said .

Conviction gleamed in her eyes as she spoke about her disappointment with those reaching Adivasi settlements offering political promises and solace. Without distinguishing between the colours of the parties, Ms. Priya said they were all alike.

She firmly believes that education and self-motivation alone can take her community forward. “Madhu was a nice bloke who suffered from mental instability….” She could not speak further as she said “it was painful thinking about the fate he met with.”

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