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A village of servicemen mourns Kutty's killing
November 25, 2005 16:15 IST
Even as this obscure village prepares to bid adieu to its 'soldier of peace', Maniappan Raman Kutty, thousands of youths like him will be forced by poverty and lack of opportunities in their native areas to join the armed forces to make two ends meet.
Karthikapally taluk, in which Chingoli village is located, is a place of 'military men'. The General Reserve Engineering Force employs 7,000 people from Chingoli and surrounding places.
Maniappan was working as a driver in the Border Roads Organisation, a division of the GREF. He had joined the department 16 years ago at Meghalaya, where his uncles Anandan and Krishnakutty were working with the GREF.
His brother-in-law Sadanandan and first cousins Sahadevan, Chandran and Rathi are still employed with the GREF.
At least one person from each house in Chingoli, Kayamkulam, Muthukulam and Kerikad is looking for a job in GREF, locals say.
They have also been given a special name to this area - 'Kamuki', which has been formed by joining the first letters of Kayamkulam, Muthukulam and Keerikkad.
According to Mariappan's uncles, about 30 years ago, it was very easy to get a job in the GREF. While the people were at first hesitant to join the service as they apprehended being posted in far-flung border areas with minimal facilities, the poverty in the Kamuki zone ultimately forced them to join it.
As so many people from the area had served the country diligently over the years, the failure of the authorities to secure Maniappan's release is all the more galling for people.
His uncles Anandan and Krishnakutty blamed the Centre and the state government for not being able to save their nephew's life.
They asked why the state government did not send a minister to Delhi to save Maniappan? Sadanandan, also hailing from Chingoli, said the 'inaction' of Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed, who hails from Kerala, came as big blow to the people of the village.
He recalls the case of Sam Kutty, hailing from nearby Mavelikkara, who was kidnapped by a terror group in Iraq some years ago.
The government had then acted quickly to establish contact with the Iraqi government. The centre also sent Minorities Commission member John Joseph to Iraq for his rescue. These constant efforts paid off and Sam Kutty was released.
Why were similar efforts not made in the case of Maniappan, is the question on the lips of hundreds of people who have gathered on Friday to attend the last rites of Maniappan later in the evening.