Pooram talks inconclusive, but participants confident

Written By Xappie Desk | Updated: May 10, 2019 21:45 IST
Pooram talks inconclusive, but participants confident

A conciliatory meeting called by the government here on Thursday to sort out the grievances of elephant owners against the background of the Thrissur Pooram remained inconclusive, though the participants remained confident that the festival will be held without any hiccup.

The outcome now hinges on the discussions among the office-bearers of the Kerala Elephant Owners Federation in Thrissur on Friday. The government is expected to seek legal advice on the issue with the Kerala High Court hearing a plea on Friday.
The two-hour parleys that Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran and Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar had with a delegation of elephant owners, led by federation president K.B. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, centred on differences over rules concerning the management of captive elephants.
Mr. Surendran, who was confident that the Pooram will be held with pomp and splendour, said the elephant owners voiced their concerns regarding the difficulties they faced at the hands of the Forest Department.
“On his return from the Europe tour, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will convene a meeting of all stakeholders, including departments, elephant owners, workers, and festival coordination committees, to resolve the issues,” he said.
Mr. Sunil Kumar said the elephant owners responded positively to the government’s stance and was confident that they would refrain from boycotting the festival. He said the elephant Thechikkottukkavu Ramachandran would not be paraded at the festival under any circumstances. The temple committee had only sought permission to use the elephant during a ritual for a short while on the Pooram eve, he said.
The elephant owners criticised Forest Minister K. Raju for his Facebook post on the issue. “The Minister’s stance had only served to worsen the situation,” Mr. Ganesh Kumar said.
He said captive elephants being paraded at the festival were not considered money-spinners. Barring the Devaswoms, private individuals paraded their animals free of charge. In the case of Thechikkottakavu Ramachandran, which is owned by a Devaswom, it (Devaswon) incurred an annual expense of 35 lakh, he said.
Mr. Ganesh Kumar, a former Forests Minister, claimed that reports about the elephant’s ailments were exaggerated and that the animal was not violent as portrayed by certain sections.

Written By Xappie Desk | Updated: December 08, 2019 12:22 IST
Police abruptly withdraw security to retired High Court Judge B Kemal Pasha

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'.

Written By Xappie Desk | Updated: November 08, 2019 16:46 IST
Free Internet to 2 million poor households by 2020: Kerala Government

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.

Written By Xappie Desk | Updated: October 30, 2019 16:52 IST
Top Tamil Nadu Maoist leader killed in Kerala, encounter ongoing for 2nd day

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.