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Man from rare Asian tribe gored to death by wild elephant

Thiruvananthapuram : A rare Asian ‘Cholanaikkan’ tribe member, invited for the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2005 by the President of India, was gored to death by a wild elephant inside Karulai Forest in Nilambur Taluk of Malappuram district in Kerala, it was reported on Thursday. The deceased has been identified as 78-year-old Mathan who belonged to Asia’s vanishing Cholanaikkan tribal community which numbers around 280 and lives in caves in Kerala. The wild elephant attacked him when he was going to collect the ration rice from the centre of an Integrated Tribal Development Project on Wednesday afternoon. He died on the spot. During his visit to Delhi with his wife, when they went to meet the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, his wife Karikka was allegedly frisked by the Special Protection Group (SPG) thus failing to meet the PM, as a piece of arecanut and tobacco, which the tribals chew, were found in Karikka’s possession. Cholanaickans, the only tribe in Asia that lives in caves, are said to have migrated from Mysore forests. They are categorised as a particularly vulnerable tribal group by the Government of India.

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