Coffee estate owner arrested for firing at Diddalli tribal's huts

Coffee estate owner arrested for firing at Diddalli tribal's huts

The police have arrested a coffee estate owner in connection with the firing on the huts erected by the displaced tribals of Diddalli on Wednesday. The arrested is A Poonaccha (50), a resident of Gudloor in Maldare of Virajpet taluk. The police have seized rifle and bike.

It was said, Dechu, Appanna and Mani of Diddalli had promised Poonaccha that they would work at his estate. As they failed to keep their words, Poonaccha on Monday night got into a verbal duel with the tribals.

In the melee, Poonaccha, under the influence of alcohol, fired twice in the air. When he fired third time, the bullet pierced through hut, said the police.

“When the incident occurred, it was raining heavily in Diddalli and none of the displaced tribals were inside their dwellings. The tribal leaders had gone to Bengaluru to attend a meeting convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday. Those who were residing in the huts did not inform the police in fear. The police were informed only after the tribal leaders returned from Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) personnel, suspecting the Monday night firing at Diddalli to be a naxal activity, carried out combing operations in the region on Wednesday. The ANF personnel from Chikkamagaluru and Udupi took part in the operations.

Kodagu Superintendent of Police P Rajendra Prasad said that the tribals had not filed any written complaint. The police have filed suo motu complaint and arrested a person.

Probe sought

Speaking to mediapersons, SDPI district president Ameen Mohisin has condemned the firing on tribal huts. “The police should conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. The tribals who came out of bonded labour system in coffee estates are being harassed very often.”

Meeting fruitful

Stating that the meeting convened by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday has been successful, he said that Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa and Minister for Forest and Ecology Ramanath Rai will visit Kodagu on April 17 and 18 to find a final solution to the problems of the tribals.

All our documents have been handed over to the chief minister. The forest department has failed to prove that Diddalli was a reserve forest. We have produced the documents to prove that the land where tribals had built huts/houses was a paisari land,”  said Ameen.

Ameen said that Revenue Minister has promised to distribute title deeds within eight days, if the said land was not a forest land. In case if it was a forest land, then he has promised to give three-acre land to each displaced family. Tribal leader Allaranda Vittal Nanjappa said that it was the tribals who have been protecting the forest.

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