Fearing arrest, man lives on trees for four years

March 21st, 2008 - 3:41 pm ICT by admin  

Koraput (Orissa), March 21 (IANS) A man has been living on trees for the past four years in Orissa for fear of arrest by the police. Jaya Naik, 50, a resident of Chindri Maliguda, a village located close to the Koraput district headquarter, some 500 km south of state capital Bhubaneswar, was arrested along with his wife and 17-year-old son in 2002 over a dispute he had with his father and brother over irrigation of land.

They had to spend at least three days in jail after the court sent them to judicial custody.

Naik, after his release, became depressed and demonstrated unusual behaviour, his wife Daimati told IANS.

“He turned violent and one day attacked me with a weapon. I was injured. I went to the police station and lodged a complaint,” she said. Police arrested him and again kept him in jail for two days.

After his release, he developed such a fear of being arrested again that he fled to a nearby hill and lived there for about one year, she said.

“Then we spotted him on a mango tree located near the village,” she added.

“He lived on the mango tree for about three years. Now for the past one year, he has moved to another tree near by and has been living there.”

Naik has built a wooden platform on the branches of the old Simili (silk cotton) tree where he lives.

He goes home for dinner every evening, “but never discusses our problems. He hardly talks,” Daimati said.

“We met several tantriks and performed puja by selling most of our land in the hope that my husband will be all right and start living like a normal man but it was in vain.”

Daimati’s father Khagapati Mali has been taking care of the family, while Naik lives on his tree armed with an axe and refuses to meet anyone.

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