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Demand for memorial to tribal warriors

Protest is mounting over the alleged indifference on the part of the government to the demand for a memorial to tribal warriors Thalakkal Chandu and Edachana Kunkan at Panamaram in the district.

Thalakkal Chandu was an archer and the commander-in-chief of the Kurichya soldiers of the Pazhassi Raja who fought the British forces in the Wayanad jungles in the early period of the 18th century.

The Pazhassi rebellion is considered to be among the important early anti–British uprisings in South India.

Tribespeople of Wayanad such as Kurichias, Paniyas and Kurumas played a major role in these rebellions. They fought the British in the jungles of Wayanad from 1800 to 1805.

The rebellion on October 11, 1802 by a group of tribal soldiers comprising 175 Kurichya archers, led by Thalakkal Chandu and Edachana Kunkan, captured the British fort at Panamaram which was manned by the infantry units of Bombay. Commanding officer Capt. Dickinson and Lt. Maxwell were killed in action along with 25 soldiers.

The British forces launched a retaliatory attack and trapped Thalakkal Chandu on November 15, 1805. He was executed under a Koly tree. Edachana Kunkan was killed by the British army at Panniyil later (now the place is called Pannichal in Edavaka panchayat).

Talking to The Hindu, A.V. Rajendra Prasad, secretary of the Thalakkal Chandu Smaraka Samithi, said though Thalakkal Chandu had sacrificed his life for the country long before the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, no memorial had been set up for this tribal warrior.

“We have submitted various proposals to the authorities concerned as well as the Union Minister for Tribal Welfare for a memorial at the Panamaram fort, behind the Panamaram Government Higher Secondary School, but no action has been taken yet,” said chairman of the Samithy and Kurichya leader Palliyara Raman.

E.M. Manoj

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