Arrest and torture of tribal youth in a fabricated case in Kerala

On September 29, 2022, a tribal youth identified as Sarin Saji (24 years) was arrested in an alleged fabricated case and tortured while in custody by the forest officials in Idukki district of Kerala. According to reports, the forest department arrested Sarin Saji on September 29 alleging he tried to sell deer meat. Forest department officials have alleged that they found 2 kilograms of sambar deer meat in his auto.

But according to local tribal activists and the family members, Sarin’s auto was checked at the Vanmavu check post at around 6 am on September 29 when nothing was found in his possession. Sarin then left for Pala after parking his auto at Valacode. Forest officers asked him to return when he reached Vagaman. When he returned, he was taken into custody without reason and later booked for possession of deer meat. It is also alleged that the forest officials kept wild deer meat in his auto to implicate in a false case. Sarin was allegedly beaten up in the custody of the forest officials. Sarin, who is a BCom graduate, drives an autorickshaw to feed his family. The forest department has also taken the auto in the custody.

The Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) sought the urgent intervention of the NHRC into the matter.