Drug cartels and sexual exploitation killing young women in a tribal hamlet in Kerala

In the past five months, five young women, two of them minors, have committed suicide in nearby tribal hamlets on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram, raising concerns that anti-social elements are exploiting local women.

In the past, suspicious deaths of tribal women in Kerala have been linked to drug trafficking rings.

Tribal hamlets in the Vithura-Peringamala region, about 40 kilometers from the state capital, have reported new cases. There were two instances where the deceased had been sexually assaulted. The accused and the two survivors were children. Two of the three women aged between 18 and 19 are thought to have taken their own lives due to an affair-related problem.

The drug trade and cell phone use are blamed by locals. Because of the Covid, many parents are forced to leave their children alone at home when they go to work in the morning. As a result, the majority of students suddenly have access to online lessons through their smartphones. The racketeers were accused of seducing and sexually exploiting women using cell phones.

Drug use by young people in the region is also said to be on the increase. Recently, a woman named Sobhana from a nearby town was allegedly assaulted by a group of drug traffickers for her role in resisting local cartels.

Adivasi Kshema Samathi leader Anil Kumar said swift government interventions were essential to prevent drug trafficking in the region as it was seen as the root cause of the difficulties.

Senior police officers are also due to visit the area this week. Excise department officials have already increased their vigilance. A report from the authorities was also requested by Veena George, who is also in charge of women’s and children’s development.

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