The 23-year-old trekker Babu, who was rescued by army personnel from a small cavity on the side of a Kerala hill, and three of his friends who went trekking to Cherad Hills, were booked by the Kerala Forest Department on Monday, February 14. Forest officials told TNM that Babu and three others have been booked under Section 27 of the Kerala Forests Act (Penalties for trespass or damage in Reserved Forests and acts prohibited in such forests), and enquiry will be conducted on three others to ascertain their ages and further action will be taken.
Earlier, Kerala Forest Minister Saseendran had reassured Babu after his mother pleaded that no action be taken. However, since many tourists were travelling to the same spot, the Kerala government has warned of action.
Babu and three others had gone trekking at Cherad hills and Babu had slipped while climbing the steep hills, and got stuck in a cavity bare enough for him to squat. After two days of multiple attempts to try to get to him, he was rescued by personnel of the Indian Army. After he was rescued, he got discharged from the Palakkad district hospital on February 11.
After Babuâ€™s motherâ€™s plea, When forest officials decided not to book Babu. However, many people were spotted at the same place on Sunday night. Two state Ministers â€“ Saseendran and State Revenue Minister K Rajan, on Monday, February 14 then decided that henceforth, no one will get the consideration that Babu got.
"Proper rules and regulations will be there and violators will be taken to task," said Saseendran. Rajan said that all the 14 district authorities have been asked to take appropriate measures towards this.
After getting discharged, Babu had said that if anybody wants to go trekking, they should take permission from concerned authorities and carry essentials like water and other things. He also told the media that trekking was his passion and he was sure that someone would come to rescue him from the steep gorge. "I was not afraid. The cleft was like a tiny cave. When it was too cold and too hot outside, I used to crawl into the gorge and come outside whenever I heard anyone calling my name," he told reporters.
His mother had said that she will not allow Babu to go trekking again, which he dismissed and said that he would like to continue to pursue his passion for travelling and trekking.