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'Forcible sterilisations on in Kerala'
George Iype in Kochi | December 10, 2003 17:39 IST
Last Updated: December 10, 2003 17:47 IST
Between April and October health officials forcibly sterilised around 1,000 tribesmen and women in Kerala's Wayanad district, according to a tribal organisation.
"The government wants to ensure that the tribals do not increase in numbers," Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha chief C K Janu told rediff.com on Wednesday. "So they are in a hurry to sterilise the poor people."
Half of Kerala's nearly 400,000 tribals live in Wayanad district.
In February around 2,000 tribals had forcibly occupied a forest reserve in Wayanad's Muthanga village. A tribal and a cop were killed in the police action that followed.
It was then that the government decided to "eliminate" the tribals through sterilisation, Janu said.
She said her outfit was preparing a list of those who were sterilised. "We will send the list to the state and the central governments."
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders said they would launch a stir if the officials responsible for the programme were not suspended.
BJP spokesperson P C Mohanan, who visited some tribals in Wayanad, told rediff.com: "I found that the health of some of those tribesmen and women who underwent the operation had deteriorated because the authorities failed to give them proper [post-sterilisation] treatment."
But the authorities denied the allegations. "There has been no forcible sterilisation. As part of the family planning policy, we conduct sterilisation only on those who want it and with their consent," district medical officer Dr A P Sasikumar said.
"We have acted only as per the norms of the family planning programs and the health policy in India," Sasikumar added.
Chief Minister A K Antony has asked district officials to inquire into the allegations.
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