In a serious statement made at the Kerala Assembly, it was revealed that at least 45 tribal youths were committed suicide in the last five years in the settlements at Njaraneeli area near Palode, 35 km from the State capital Thiruvananthapuram. The appalling figure that had gone unnoticed, created an uproar in the Assembly on Wednesday.
Taking serious note of the issue, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan asserted that the reasons behind the deaths would be probed.
According to Congress legislator A.P. Anil Kumar, who rasied the issue during the question hour in the assembly, said a 19-year-old girl, a degree student, was the last to commit suicide a week ago. “All were in their late twenties, and 43 of them were found hanging,” he added.
The Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes A.K. Balan informed the house that he would write to the Chief Minister seeking an inquiry by the Home Department into the suicides between 2012 and 2017.
“It is surprising that even the alert media also missed them,” the Minister observed.
Anil Kumar, who was Minister for Welfare of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes in the previous United Democratic Front (UDF) government, said the issue had not come to the notice of the SC/ST Department and the government, The Hindu reported.
Meanwhile, State SC/ST Commission Chairman P.N. Vijayakumar visited the colony which falls under the Peringamala panchayat.
The leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, MLAs Anil Kumar and K.S. Sabarinathan, and DCC president Neyattinkara Sanal visited the colony later in the day Chennithala demanded a joint study of the incidents by the SC/ST Department and the Health Department along with the inquiry.
In a separate discussion, the state assembly was also informed that 11,474 educated tribal youths are remaining jobless in Kerala.
Replying to questions, A K Balan said, of the educated unemployed tribal youths, as many as 354 were professional medical and engineering degree holders. He said there were 237 youths who have completed nursing courses. Besides, there were 482 post graduates and 670 other technical certificate holders.
A data bank of qualified tribal youth had already been given to various departments for absorbing them into the government services.