In a climax of suspense and arguments, the elephant Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran has got conditional permission to be paraded for the ‘Vilambaram’ ritual on the eve of the Thrissur Pooram.
As the Advocate General gave legal advice to Thrissur Collector T.V. Anupama to provide conditional permission, a monitoring panel meeting chaired by her on Friday evening allowed the parading of the elephant for the ritual on Sunday if it is medically fit.
An expert panel will examine the elephant on Saturday. If it is medically fit, the elephant can be used for the ritual.
Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran has been used for many years for the ‘Pooram Vilambaram’ ritual, in which the elephant carrying the idol of Neithilakkavilamma will open the Thekke Gopura Nada of Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, announcing the beginning of the pooram.
The Advocate General also called for taking precautionary measures to avoid any accident. People should be kept at a distance from the elephant.
Captive Elephant Management Rules should be strictly followed while parading the elephant and it should not be provoked.
The elephant owner will be responsible for any untoward accident and the elephant should have insurance coverage.
The State government decided to take legal advice from the Advocate General after a meeting of Ministers and elephant owners.
The Elephant Owners Federation welcomed the decision of the Collector. It expressed willingness to go by the decision taken by the panel that will examine the elephant. It also expressed willingness to provide elephants for the pooram.
Earlier, it had threatened to withdraw other elephants too if the ban on the elephant was not lifted.
Condemning the decision of the Collector, the Heritage Animal Task Force said the elephant was almost blind and had digestive problems. Parading an elephant with disability was against the Captive Elephant Management Rules, it said.
The Kerala police "abruptly withdrew" security provided to retired High Court judge Justice B Kemal Pasha on Saturday.
He alleged that they withdrew security at a time when he was facing threat from Islamic State's terror operatives in Kerala.
The retired judge said four armed police guards deputed for his personal security had withdrawn by the government.
When contacted, he said, "The decision had taken at the Home Secretary-level on Friday. The police personnel left me ending their service today (Saturday)."
The retired High Court judge Justice B Kemal Pasha, who had been vocal against the CPM-led LDF government's 'failure' in handling various cases, sources said here.
Alleging the security has withdrawn for raising voices against the policies of the government over various issues including the alleged killing of four Maoists in an encounter by police in Attappadi recently, the eminent jurist said he would continue to protest its 'wrong policies'.
The Kerala government on Wednesday approved the project under which nearly two million families below the poverty line will get free access to high-speed internet by December 2020.
Now, 20 lakh poor can access the internet for free in Kerala after the state cabinet made the internet connection a basic citizen right, similar to water, food, and education.
The path has now cleared to provide internet access to every household in the state. It comes in line with the directions by the United Nations (UN), which believes every country must provide free internet access to every citizen so as to exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion.
"Internet connection (has been) made a basic citizen right," Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac tweeted. The project will ensure that there is internet service in every household of Kerala, Isaac added.
In March 2017, the budget of the most literate state in the country proposed a project aiming to provide internet free of cost to 20 lakh poor families and at subsidized rates to others.
A top Maoist leader from Tamil Nadu got killed in an encounter between Maoists and policemen that continued for the second day on Tuesday at the Attappadi forest, Kerala. The police said that three Maoists got killed earlier and the policemen have engaged in the inquest of their bodies when some other Maoists attacked the policemen, triggering a fresh gunfight.
According to the Kerala police, Maoists fired at the Thunderbolt patrolling team inside the forest areas of Attapadi Hills of Palakkad early Monday morning. In retaliation, the Thunderbolt forces fired back, killing three Maoists, including a woman.
The police had launched an operation to look for the missing fourth Maoist. But had to abandon it due to rain and darkness, a senior commando police officer told.
On Tuesday morning, when the Revenue Divisional Officer and local administration reached the encounter spot to identify the bodies, they have attacked again. The team had to take defensive positions and retaliate, killing one more Maoist.
The police identified two out of the four slain Maoists. One was Karthick from Tamil Nadu and the woman member was Jyoti from Karnataka. The identities of the other two deceased are yet to ascertain.
Police sources said the Maoists belonged to the Kabani Dal.