In the past week, Thrissur gave a break to the post-election controversies and focussed her energies solely on her annual extravaganza. The effort showed in the splendour with which Thrissur Pooram unfurled on Monday.
Lakhs of people made a beeline to the Thekkinkadu Maidan and Swaraj Round to witness the festivities. The sounds of trumpets and trolling bells were everywhere.
Processions, elephants, percussion ensembles, and fireworks — there was something for everyone. The balmy weather, sweat, and dust did nothing to dampen the spirit of pooram fans.
The pooram signifies the meeting of deities of 10 temples in the region. The 36-hour-long festivities began with the arrival of Kanimangalam Sastha by 7.30 a.m. It was followed by processions from Panamukkumpally Sastha, Karamukku Bhagavathy, Lalur Bhagavathy, Naithalakkavu Bhagavathy, Choorakkattukavu Bhagavathy, Ayyanthole Karthyayani and Chembukkavu Karthyayani temples.
Accompanied by percussion ensembles, these deities were brought on caparisoned elephants to the Sree Vadakkunnathan temple.
The festival is synonymous with elephants and the ban on popular tusker Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran had created such a furore that the Collector had to give permission to parade the animal for an hour. Around 90 elephants participated in various functions of pooram. One could find elephants on every street. The entire city smelt of jumbos.
The Thekke Gopura Nada was teeming with people for Kudamattom, a parade of richly caparisoned elephants with ornamental umbrellas. People hooted and waved as umpteen parasols were changed in a friendly competition between Devaswoms.
Pyrotechnic wizards will leave a riot of colour on the sky on Tuesday morning. Pakal pooram, called Thattakathe Pooram, will be celebrated on Tuesday.
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The retired judge said four armed police guards deputed for his personal security had withdrawn by the government.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Alleging the security has withdrawn for raising voices against the policies of the government over various issues including the alleged killing of four Maoists in an encounter by police in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.