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Warrior who sold her cause

One of the strongest critics of the Cong-led Govt, CK Janu, has made a stunning turnaround. Ramesh Babu reports.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2006 16:59 IST

A winner of a poll issue, the Left had thought of the ruling UDF's Muthanga 'misadventure'. Not any more.

One of the strongest critics of the Congress-led government, CK Janu, the tribal leader who fought a pitched battle with the police in the forests of Muthanga three years ago, has made a stunning turnaround and is now drumming up support for the UDF in 137 of the 140 constituencies.

Her party, the Adivasi Gothra Mahasabha, has candidates in the remaining three seats.

"Though we are yet to get justice, the UDF took a bold decision and distributed land to the tribals. So it is natural for us to support it," Janu, a candidate from North Wayanad, said.

For the Left, Janu's turnaround is a huge jolt. It now plans to rope in Jogi, the daughter of the tribal who was killed in the police firing.

"Janu's move is a total sell-out to the forces that brutalised poor adivasis," she said.

AK Antony, who was chief minister during the Muthanga episode, sports a wide grin these days. "The CPM should tender an apology to the people. They spread lies that many tribals were burnt alive in their huts and exaggerated the toll to 20," he said.

The Adivasi uprising in Muthanga, Wayanad district, had made headlines in 2003 when thousands of tribals led by Janu forcibly occupied a tract of forestland for days.

Things got ugly when they kidnapped a police constable and hacked him to death. A police firing followed and a tribal was killed.