Tribal activist Shailaja Muppali walked 43 km barefoot from Kureeri tribal hamlet at Odakkayam in Oorngattiri panchayat, Malappuram district to the District Collectorate at Malappuram as protest against an anti-tribal remark by V Abdurahman, MLA of Tanur
Shailaja began her journey from Kureeri tribal hamlet on foot at 2 am on Monday and reached the Collectorate at 1 pm.
In an appeal to Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, Shailaja demanded that MLA V Abdurahiman withdraw his racist remarks against the tribal people and apologise to them. Guidelines should be issued to people’s representatives not to make such “anti-racial remarks,” she said. The activist, apart from demanding a solution to shortage of drinking water, title deeds for the land they had been living for decades, and introduction of an ambulance to provide medical facilities for the sick in the tribal hamlets, also requested an enhanced presence of excise personnel in the tribal colony to control the drug mafia in the area.
Abdurahman in a press conference against MLA C Mammootty at Tirur Press Club the other day said: “Nobody should come from among the tribes in Wayanad to teach us. We grew up in Tirur and not in tribal colonies. They should teach only tribals.” This remark of his is what sparked the controversy.
Mammutty is from Karakkamala in Wayanad and Abdurahman’s remark linking Mammutty to the tribal land of Wayanad has drawn flak from various quarters and been politicised by his rival groups.