Saturday, October 31, 2015

DGP is Vellapally devotee, says Biju Ramesh

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sree Naryana Dharmavedi General Secretary Biju Ramesh has made a harsh criticism against DGP T P Senkumar. “The DGP is Vellapally bhakta (devotee),” he said  

At a press conference here he alleged: “When Swami Saswathikananda’s sister made a request to give the charge of the investigation to DGP Jacob Thomas, DGP Sen Kumar talked to her in harsh tones, dismissing the request.”

Biju welcomed the order for further probe into Swami’s case but expressed doubts whether it was an attempt to divert attention from the bar bribery case. However, he said the case should be transferred to a special investigation team.

Fair inquiry will take place: Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: KPCC president V M Sudheeran on Saturday welcomed the government’s decision to conduct further probe into Swami Saswathikananda’s case. A fair inquiry would take place in the case.

“The government’s decision is good and purely based on people’s need. It need not be seen as a step to save the face of the government or anything of that sort. The government has its own outlook on issues,” Sudheeran said.  

Skirting questions on the government’s steps on bar bribery case, he said all angles will be examined and he was observing political righteousness over the issue.

BJP sore over govt ordering further probe into Swami's death

KOCHI: BJP today criticised Kerala government's decision to conduct further probe into the death of Swami Saswathikananda of Sivagiri Mutt, alleging that it was a political conspiracy by the Congress-led UDF government to tarnish image of SNDP General Secretary Vellappally Natesan.

BJP Kerala state chief V Muraleedharan, who played a key role in building BJP's ties with the numerically strong Eazhava community, also alleged that the government's decision into the incident in 2002 was an attempt to divert attention from a special vigilance court verdict ordering further probe against Finance Minster K M Mani in the bar bribery case.

Noting that Mani is a "pet" of leaders of a religion, he said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala were "preparing a safe exit" for the FM from the bar bribery scam and they decided to divert attention from that case by ordering a further probe into the seer's death.

"So we believe it is a very well planned political conspiracy (to protect Mani)," Muraleedharan told reporters here.

Mani is the leader of Kerala Congress (M) having strong support base in Catholic dominated areas in central Kerala.

"Religious leaders had thrown their weight behind Mani from the very beginning of the bar bribery case. They were the people who firstly stated that there is no need for Mani to resign. So Chandy and Chennithala are acting as per their wishes and trying to put an end to the case," he said.

Kerala government had earlier today announced further investigation into the death of the Swami following a Crime Branch report citing new revelations in the case.

Muraleedharan hailed the SNDP General Secretary as a "voice of the marginalised and neglected" and said the Congress led government was trying to "tarnish the image" of Natesan by ordering a re-investigation into the seer's death.

Last month, Kerala Bar Hotel Owners Association Working President Biju Ramesh, also leader of Sree Narayana Dharam Vedi, rival to SNDP, had alleged that the Swami was murdered and that Natesan and his son Thushar had a role in it.

However, Natesan has rejected the charge and said on October 10 that he was ready to face any probe, including by CBI.

The swami allegedly drowned at the bathing ghat off Periyar near Aluva when he went for bathing on July 1 2002.

VS down with fever, cancels public programmes

KOTTAYAM: Down with fever, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan cancelled today’s public programmes. He has gone to Thiruvananthapuram from Aluva to take rest.

He was to make election speeches in different centres in Kottayam. Grand arrangements were also made, as part of this, at Mundakkayam, Ponkunnam, Edayazham, Kumarakom and Kurichi.  

Saswathikananda case: Govt ordered further probe on the basis of VS letter, says Chandy

KOCHI: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that further probe into the death of Swami Saswathikanan was ordered on the basis of Opposition leader V S Achuthananda’s letter. If the CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had any complaints regarding the probe, he should tell  VS about it.

“Kodiyer’s claim that further probe was ordered to divert the attention of the public from the bar bribery case is not right. The probe was demanded by VS and the government initiated procedures as per the law. There is no concrete evidence in the hands of the Opposition to blame the government, a reason why they are making a lot of noise over the Vigilance verdict in the bar bribery case,” he said.                            

Further probe into Saswathikananda case was also welcomed by Congress leader A K Antony. “All kinds of suspicious in the case should go and hence we don’t fear an inquiry,” Antony said in Kochi.

Modi greets Chandy on birthday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has wished Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on his birth day. The prime minister has expressed his wishes through twitter. In the twitter message, Modi said that he was praying for Chandy’s long life and health.

Chandy turned 72 today.

Timing of vigilance court verdict superb: Hassan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking a dig at Vigilance court judge John Nellikkadan, who ordered a further probe into the bar bribery case, Congress spokesperson M M Hassan said sarcastically on Friday that the timing of the verdict was superb.

“Don’t you all know who is going to benefit from the Vigilance court verdict?” he asked, adding that the verdict has turned into a weapon in the hands of the Opposition.

Saswathikananda, Vellapally parted ways: Biju Ramesh

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Bar Hotel Association Working President Biju Ramesh has recorded the statement before the Crime Branch that the relationship between Swami Saswathikananda and SNDP Yogam General Secretary Vellapally Natesan had hit a rough patch before the former’s demise.

“Their quarrel was over the bribe amount over various recruitments under SN Trust. The swami had asked Vellapally to build a college using the money received as bribe, but Vellapally and his son Thushar Vellapally were not ready to concede this,“ he told the Crime branch sleuths on Friday.   

Friday, October 30, 2015

Vigilance wing roots for appeal in bar case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Contrary to Advocate General’s suggestion, the Vigilance wing has come out in favour of giving appeal against the latest court verdict that has put Finance Minister K M Mani in the dock again.

The department has given a letter to the home ministry seeking its permission for giving appeal. In the letter the Vigilance directorate has also mentioned that the verdict would paralyse its functioning.

Earlier, in his meeting with the chief minister, the advocate general had advised against the government’s decision to go for appeal against the verdict. The Vigilance department had also decided that it would move court later to remove remarks against Mani.

No evidence on me demanding bribe: Mani

KOTTAYAM: Finance Minister K M Mani has said that there is no evidence to substantiate that he demanded bribe. “And therefore, there is no need for convening a meeting of Kerala Congress (M) high power committee. When there is a need, the meeting could be held,” he said.

Mani said this in response to the demand raised by a group in the Kerala Congress that a meeting of the high power committee should be convened immediately to discuss Vigilance court’s latest verdict.     

PC Joseph MLA had written a letter to Mani and minister P J Joseph apprising them of the demand for the meeting. Mani later rejected Joseph’s demand.

A group in Kerala Cong wants Mani to quit at least as Law minister

KOTTAYAM: Rifts widened in Kerala Congress following the Vigilance Court verdict that there is prima facie evidence to suggest Finance Minister K M Mani took Rs 25 lakh bribe to facilitate the reopening of closed bars.

A group in the party opined that it was better Mani at least relinquished law minister’s post. “If Mani had resigned when allegations were raised against him, the present crisis could have been avoided,” they said.

There was also demand in the group for holding a high power committee meeting to discuss the present crisis. Even P C Joseph MLA shot off a letter to Mani, making this demand, which was later rejected by the latter.

If CM doesn’t expel Mani, governor should intervene: Kodiyeri

KOZHIKODE: CPM State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said that the decision of the government to go for appeal against the Vigilance court is ridiculous. “Why is Mani, who has once said he is ready to face inquiry 101 times, now going for appeal?,” he asked.

He said appealing against the verdict and avoiding further inquiry would tantamount to sabotaging the case. “If Mani is not ready to quit on his own, the chief minister should do that. If that also doesn’t happen, the governor should intervene,” Kodiyeri said.   

The CPM leader was responding to the Vigilance court’s prima facie finding that Mani had taken Rs 25 lakh bribe from bar owners. 

Action likely against Jacob Thomas, says Sen Kumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: DGP T P Senkumar has criticised Police Housing Construction Corporation M D DGP Jacob Thomas’ comment on the Vigilance court’s latest verdict on the bar case.

“Jacob Thomas has not probed the bar case and as that is the case, it is not right on his part to have passed a comment. He should have meant something else by saying he was avoided in the case,” Sen Kumar said.

“Kumar said there could be disciplinary action against Jacob. Winson M Paul is an honest police officer and he had made only an honest intervention in the bar bribery case,” Kumar said.   

Jacob Thomas had opined that the Vigilance court’s latest verdict was a right decision. “The court had performed its duty well. FIR was registered after prima facie evidence was found against Mani. In any inquiry there would be some impediments and only that happened in this case also,” Jacob had said.

Meanwhile, Jacob Thomas said he would respond if disciplinary action was taken against him.

UDF accepts court verdict, says Antony

KOZHIKODE: The UDF will discuss and take an appropriate decision on the future course of action in the bar case, said congress leader A K Antony. We accept the court verdict and let further probe be conducted in the case. Addressing a face to face programme at the Kozhikode Press Club, he said that he will opine in the case after the probe is completed.

The insight of morality is subjective, he said. What happened to opposition leader V S Achuthanandan in Aruvikkara will be repeated in the local body polls. My days in Kerala are over, he said. 

If needed, let Mani go to court with bribery amount: VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has criticised the government plan to go for appeal against Viglance court verdict attacking Finance Minister K M Mani.

He said the government would be moving court with the money it gets from the exchequer. "If needed, let him take the bribery money for his court expense. Taking people's money to cover up corruption is not a right thing," he said. 

Bar case: AG advises govt against going for appeal

KOCHI: Office of the Advocate General has advised the government against going for appeal in the Bar bribery case.

The move follows the Vigilance court's scathing remarks against Finance Minister K M Mani in its Thursday order.

Vigilance department will later move court to remove the remark against Mani. The Vigilance has also been asked to file Criminal Miscellaneous petition.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy had met Advocate General K P Dandapani at the Aluva Palace today morning 8 o' clock. In the discussion held, the AG advised the chief minister not to go for appeal against yesterday's court order.

No quick decision on Mani’s resignation, says Chandy

THRISSUR: In the wake of the vigilance court verdict in the bar scam case, a quick decision cannot be taken on the resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Talking to reporters here, he said the government has accepted the court verdict.

Chandy said, “Nobody is above law. I know how to bring the officials under control. I will not allow anyone to cross the limits. This verdict is not the end of law. I have belief in judiciary and people’s court, he said.

Harbhajan ties the knot with actor Geeta

JALANDHAR: Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh today tied the nuptial knot with long-time girlfriend Geeta Basra in a gurudwara here.

While the groom looked dapper in a off-white sherwani and red turban, the bride was looking resplendent in a traditional red and gold lehenga.

The wedding was attended by some close relatives and friends, including cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar and wife Anjali.

Earlier, a mehendi and sangeet ceremony were also held at Harbhajan's family home.
The high-profile reception is slated for November 1 in New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expected to grace the occasion.

Apart from his Team India teammates like Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli, Bollywood celebrities like Amitabh Bachhan, Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra are also likely to attend the reception in the capital.

Harbhajan, 35, and Geeta, who has acted in several Hindi and Punjabi films, have had a five years of courtship before they took the marital plunge.

Kerala House search: Another right-wing activist arrested

NEW DELHI: A day after arresting Hindu Sena chief Vishu Gupta, Delhi Police today nabbed his aide Mohit Rajput for breaching peace and tranquility by calling police claiming that cow meat was being served at Kerala Bhawan canteen.

Rajput (25), a resident of Laxmi Nagar in East Delhi, was detained this morning at Connaught Place police station. He was arrested later in the day.

Rajput and Gupta were later produced before a court here which sent them to four-day judicial custody, police said.

"The accused have been booked under Sections 107/151 of CrPC," said DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal.

Rajput and Gupta allegedly went to Kerala House on a "tip-off" that cow meat was being served in its canteen.

Rajput even entered into an argument with the staff there and reported the matter to Gupta. It was the latter who called up the police control room to report the matter.

When a police team was sent there, their claims turned out to be false as it was buffalo meat on the menu. Both Rajput and Gupta have been arrested under the same CrPC sections, police said.
Meanwhile, under attack for "breach of protocol" in connection with the Kerala House episode, Delhi Police has issued a circular asking officials to contact the Resident Commissioners of state bhavans, in case of situations requiring preventive action.

The circular issued by the Delhi police yesterday noted that the officials who went enquiring for beef at Kerala House here "did not establish liaison with the Resident Commissioner or his representative, while securing the place and making enquiries".

The circular, signed by Senior Special Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) further stated, "Henceforth, whenever any occasion/situation arises and preventive or other action is required at any of the state bhawans, efforts should also be made to contact the Resident Commissioner or his representative."

"Where delay can result in any commission of crime or escalate law and order problem or damage to life and property, appropriate legal action should be initiated without any delay.

"In such situations, assistance of the Resident Commissioner or his representative should be obtained at the first opportunity," the circular added.

The communication was issued hours after the Hindu Sena chief was detained, and later arrested, yesterday, said a senior official. 

CM holds talks with AG

KOCHI: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy held talks with Advocate General K P Dandapani. The two met at the Aluva Palace Friday morning at 8 am.

Both the chief minister and the Advocate General refused to divulge the details of the talks to the reporters. The two met to hold talks on further steps to be taken after the vigilance court ordered a further probe against Finance Minister K M Mani for accepting bribe from bar owners.    

The government is planning to move the Kerala High Court against the verdict. The chief minister met the advocate general to discuss whether vigilance should approach the high court or whether the government should move the court.   

Legal action in bar scam, says Chennithala

ALAPPUZHA:  The court’s order for a further probe in the bar scam case is a legal action, said Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala. Talking to the media, he said nobody should be seen guilty in the name of further probe.

He said court ordering further probe in cases is not a new thing. The court has not registered any dissatisfaction or lapses in the investigation. When asked should Mani resign in the context of the court order, he said it depends on an individual’s morality.

Winson M Paul is hundred percent efficient. The court has not found any fault or expressed dissatisfaction in the investigation of the case. Paul need not enter on leave and his present decision is final, he said.

Kathiroor Manoj murder case: Bail plea rejected

KOCHI: The high court today rejected the plea of the four accused including the main accused in the Kathiroor Manoj murder case.

The division bench comprising Justice K T Shankaran and Jusitce Raja Vijayaraghavan gave the order rejecting the bail plea.

Manoj was murdered on September 1, 2014 on his way to Thalassery from home.
Manoj was allegedly hacked to death after a bomb was hurled at the van in which he was travelling.

Antony not to return to Kerala politics

KANNUR: Congress Working Committee member A K Antony said that he will not return to Kerala politics again. Oommen Chandy, V M Sudheeran and Ramesh Chennithala are leading the congress in a good manner, he said. Addressing a press meet, he said who will lead the party in the coming assembly polls need not be discussed now.

The verdict of the vigilance court in the bar scam case will not affect the UDF. The UDF candidate won in Aruvikkara when the state was embroiled in allegations and controversies. The leader said that he will react more on it after examining the court verdict.

The rule of the BJP Government is unsafe. Narendra Modi is trying to implement the agenda of the Sangh Parivar. India is along with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy over beef controversy at the Kerala House. Is it possible for the RSS to change the diet of food of the Keralites, asked Antony?

Vaikom Viswam demands resignation of Mani, Chandy

THODUPUZHA. As the Vigilance Court ordered further probe into bar bribery case, the Left seized the opportunity to demand for the resignation of Minister K M Mani and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

LDF convenor Vaikom Viswan made this demand here on Thursday. “As the court is convinced that there had been attempts to sabotage the case, the ministers should resign and face the probe. LDF will resume its intense protest soon. The party will today decide on the method of protest,” he said.  

Vaikom Viswam also welcomed the court order and demanded further probe under the supervision of the court. He was speaking to media persons at ‘Nethavu Nilapadu’ programme at Idukki Press Club.  

“Even before the court gave the orders, the chief minister and the home minister had given a clean chit to Mani. Their statements were suffice to prove that the ministers were trying to torpedo the case using their influence. The Vigilance team also degraded itself by trying to windup the case. Action should also be initiated against Vigilance DGP Winson M Paul in this regard” he said.

Viswam said the Left would resume agitations demanding the resignation of Mani soon and they would not wait for the local body elections to get over. The strike action plan would be charted out before 4 pm on Thursday.  

Prima facie evidence for Mani accepting bribe, says court

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram Vigilance Court Thursday said there is prima facie evidence for Finance Minister K M Mani accepting bribe to open the closed 418 bars. The court also approved that an amount of Rs 25 lakh was handed over to him in two instalments. The court mentioned these things in the order directing a further probe against Mani.

Rs 25 lakh cash was handed over to Mani between March 22 and April 4 in 2015. Rs 15 lakh was given first and then Rs 10 lakh. The compact discs containing the dialogues of bar owners were evidences for it. The court has also directed to probe the financial dealings of bar hotel association.

The court harshly criticized vigilance director Winson M Paul, who monitored the probe in the case. The findings in the factual report of investigating official SP Sukesan was correct. However, Winson M Paul covered the truths and added his own conclusions. The court order has also mentioned that Sukesan was under pressure to exempt the findings in the report. 

Bar case: Govt to go for appeal against court order

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government will go for appeal against a Vigilance court observation that prime facie there was evidence against Finance Minister K M Mani that he had taken bribe in order to facilitate the opening of 418 closed bars.   

The appeal will be filed tomorrow (Friday) itself, seeking the cancellation of Vigilance court’s order.

The government will argue that it is not right to say there is prime facie evidence even before the charge sheet is filed. The government stand is that it was improper on the part of the court to have “turned investigation officer S P Sukesh’s factual report into the order.  

There is nothing wrong in Vigilance Director Winson M Paul to have intervened in the probe and he did that according to the high court instruction, the government will submit in the court.

Mani’s programmes cancelled

KOTTAYAM: All the election campaign programmes and public meetings of Finance Minister K M Mani have been cancelled. The programmes fixed at four places including Kanjar and Kattappana in Idukki were cancelled Friday. 

The programmes were cancelled following the report of special branch that there are chances for agitations at the meetings to be attended by Mani. The protests are staged following vigilance court verdict ordering a further probe against Mani.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Vigilance director Winson M Paul decides to step down

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vigilance director Winson M Paul has decided to quit his post following court verdict ordering a further probe against K M Mani in the bar scam case. Paul, who is retiring from service on November 30, has given an application to enter on leave.

Talking to reporters here, Paul said he dealt the case from within the purview of the Act. S P Sukesan will only be in charge of the further probe. There is no need for a further probe under the guidance of the vigilance director. He said that he is stepping down from the post to maintain the reputation of the vigilance.  In some special circumstances, will have to stay away and that is for transparency. When asked whether he feels guilty, he said as I have not done anything wrong there is no need to feel guilty.

Further action after discussion in UDF: Sudheeran

THODUPUZHA: KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said that the party would think about further action regarding vigilance court order for further probe into bar bribery case only after discussing the issue in the UDF.

He said whatever information he had about the order was what he had come to know through the media. After going through the details of the court order, the party’s opinion will be told. On the other hand, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy skirted questions on the court order.

Meanwhile, the Muslim League welcomed the inquiry, but League State General Secretary KPA Majeed said there was no need for Mani to resign.

Kodiyeri, VS seek Mani’s resignation

NEW DELHI: In the wake of the order for a further probe in the bar case, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan sought the resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani. If he still continues in the post, he will have to face mass protests. A further probe against Mani, who put the   investigating official under pressure to submit a favourable probe, continuing in the ministerial post would be ridiculous, said Kodiyeri.

If Mani has any self-respect, he should resign today itself, said VS.

CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran too sought Mani’s resignation.

There is nothing unnatural about court action: Oommen Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that there is nothing unnatural about the Vigilance Court ordering further probe into bar bribery case. “It is a normal procedure. There is also no circumstances that demand Finance Minister K M Mani’s resignation,” he said at a press conference here on Thursday.

“Bar bribery case is based on mere oral statements. We can draw parallel between this case and Palm Olein Case. In the Palm Olein case, when the court ordered further probe, I didn’t resign. But Winson M Paul is quitting Vigilance Director’s post according to his conscience. Let bar bribery case be a topic of discussion during the coming Local body polls and the UDF would explain the reality to the public,” he added

There is nothing unnatural about court action: Oommen Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that there is nothing unnatural about the Vigilance Court ordering further probe into bar bribery case. “It is a normal procedure. There is also no circumstances that demand Finance Minister K M Mani’s resignation,” he said at a press conference here on Thursday.

“Bar bribery case is based on mere oral statements. We can draw parallel between this case and Palm Olein Case. In the Palm Olein case, when the court ordered further probe, I didn’t resign. But Winson M Paul is quitting Vigilance Director’s post according to his conscience. Let bar bribery case be a topic of discussion during the coming Local body polls and the UDF would explain the reality to the public,” he added

Mani welcomes further probe in bar case

KOTTAYAM: Finance Minister K M Mani welcomed the order for a further probe by the vigilance court in the bar scam case. Talking to reporters here, he said the order for a further probe doesn’t mean that I am guilty.

When asked whether he would resign, he said a further probe has been held earlier in many cases against chief ministers and ministers during the Left and Right Governments. I will follow the same pattern which as there at that time. I am not taking into account the allegations of the opposition, he said.

Mani said, “I am not against any probe.The probe should go on.All suspicions should be proved.”

Student injured after fall from running bus

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A youth rescued a school student who fell out of a running KSRTC bus Thursday morning at 8.45 am in Jagathy. Ahamed, a ninth standard student of a private school in Pattom has been admitted at the general hospital.

He fell from the bus proceeding to Vazhuthacaud from Jagathy after the door of the vehicle opened. The driver noticed the incident after Ahamed’s brother Muhammed and other passengers created an uproar.When police on duty at the junction and some others did not turn up for rescue operations, a youth identified as Jayan of Jagathy came forward, stopped a car and then took him to the hospital.  He suffered injuries on his hands and head.

Bar scam: Vigilance report acquitting Mani dismissed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vigilance special court judge John K Illikkadan Thursday dismissed the final report seeking permission to close the bar scam case against Finance Minister K M Mani. Dismissing the report, the court ordered further probe in the case.

The court Thursday adjudicatednine pleas seeking further probe, Biju Ramesh’s plea to consider factual report as final report and a plea requesting to accept the final report.

Bar hotel association working president Biju Ramesh had alleged that Mani accepted a bribe of Rs one crore from bar owners to open the closed 418 bars

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Karayi brothers move court

KOCHI: Karayi Rajan and Karayi Chandrashekharan, CPI (M) leaders from Kannur and seventh and eighth accused in the Thalassery Fazal murder case, have approached CBI court seeking permission for moving to Kannur as part of local body elections for two days on November 1 and 2. In a petition filed on Wednesday, the duo, who is also contesting the local body elections, also stated that they would report before the court on November 3. The court is slated to hear the petition on Thursday. Rajan is contesting to the Kannur district panchayat from Pattyam division, a CPM stronghold while Chandrasekharan is the party candidate at Chellath Ward in Thalassery Municipality. Earlier, the duo had obtained permission from the court for moving to Kannur to file their nominations.

Girl missing from MCH

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A 15-year-old girl, a victim of alleged sexual abuse and who was brought for counselling in the psychiatry ward of the Government Medical College Hospital here, has gone missing from the hospital. According to Medical College police, the girl was brought to the hospital around 5.30 am on Wednesday by staff of the Nirbhaya Shelter Home in Idukki. They were accompanied by the girl’s mother as well. However, the girl reportedly went to the bathroom and went missing since 6 am. The police said she was put up at the Idukki shelter home around two months ago after being abused by a man and was brought to the psychiatry wing for counselling on Wednesday after she showed signs of mental disturbance. A missing case has been registered, with all railway stations, bus stations and police stations being alerted, the police said.

Fb buff Balram bats for beef

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Youth Congress MLA V T Balram has come out with an instant Facebook post on beef against the backdrop of raging controversy over Kerala House police raid. In his new Fb post, he says one needs freedom to eat beef.  “An Indian should have the freedom to eat not only buffalo meat but also cow meat (beef). Those who don’t want beef need not eat it, that’s all” he says.  

“If killing of cows is banned in other states on the basis of certain beliefs other than an old-time agro-economic notion that cow population would decrease if beef consumption increases, that ban should be revoked immediately,” he adds.

Joseph Powathil's remark absurd: Kanam

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran has said that Archbishop Joseph Powathil’s comment on Communist leader T V Thomas is an absolute nonsense. “Making available a copy of yet-to-be-published part of his autobiography at newspaper offices is a shrewd marketing technique,” he said, taking part in ‘Vottukaryam-2015’, a debate programme held at Kesari.       

He said such techniques would not suffice to degrade Thomas. During his last days, TV told his close associates N E Balram and M D Chandrasenan that his body should be cremated at the place where Punnapra-Vayakar martyrs were laid to rest. When his brother T V Chacko went to him with a few Metropolitans to talk about his last rites, he said, “I have not yet died”.

“Father Adappoor’s new revelations also defies facts. TV was not admitted in Medical Trust hospital. After coming from Mumbai, he remained in Medical College.” Kanam said.    

“Left’s policy is not to appease the minority but to protect them. We are not against Hindus but against Hinduism, which now showcases upper class dominance. A minority group is spreading communalism though”

Taking a dig at CPI leader C Divakaran’s statement favouring Achuthanandan, Kanam said a senior leader like Divakaran should not have told things not discussed in the party or LDF. While the CPI leader said Third Front formation was not easy in Kerala, he revealed that the Left had not formed any kind of alliance or understanding with the Muslim League.

ISL: Kerala Blasters coach resigns

KOCHI: Following a dismal performance by Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League, main coach Peter Taylor resigned on Wednesday. Instead of Taylor, current Assistant coach Trevor Morgan will become the new coach.

Kerala Blasters had failed in four out of six matches played in the season. It could win only one match and ended up with just four points.

In the history of ISL, it is for the first time a team coach is getting sacked while the tournament is in progress.

Women's commission instructs filing of case against Cheriyan Philip

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Women’s Commission has given instruction to the DGP to file a case against Left fellow traveller Cheriyan Philip for his Facebook post that allegedly humiliated women’s morality. Earlier, the Commission had sought report on the issue. 

It was Cheriyan’s post on ‘shirtless’ march taken out by the Youth Congress that turned controversial. The offensive statement in the post was that women Congress workers who secretly disrobed for Congress leaders had got seats in elections.   

The post raised political storm, with women and political leaders coming out to take Cherian to task. As controversy worsened, Cheriyan apologised for his ‘Fb act’.

Three including pregnant woman electrocuted

ADIMALY: Three adivasi women including a pregnant lady were electrocuted while they were returning after collecting logs from the forests. Another woman along with her one-year-old baby escaped with injuries.

The dead has been identified as Salomi Kunjumon (28), Yashoda Thankachan (20) and Rajathi Mannavan (28). Salomi was pregnant. Vanitha Shashi (24) and her baby were the first injured.

The incident happened this afternoon at the forest area of Chikkanamkudi near Mangulam coming under the Malayatoor forest division. The one-year-old baby fell down after coming in touch with a stay wire of the 11 kv line going that way. The other women were electrocuted when they came to the rescue of the baby. The three women died on the spot itself.

The area was wet following rains and the line was covered with the overgrown forests. The power supply to the adivasi colony is through this forest. The bodies of the dead have been kept at the Adimali taluk hospital.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kerala House raid: PM seeks explanation

THIRVANANTHAPURAM: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for explanation from Home ministry regarding the police raid in Kerala House.

Earlier Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had written to the prime minister over the issue, which had snowballed into a controversy in home State.

Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi later justified the police action, saying that the raid was conducted as a preventive measure so as to avoid further tension.

Meanwhile, police have filed a case against one Vishnu Gupya for giving a false complaint that beef was being sold at Kerala house canteen.

'Carabeef' to return on Kerala House menu

NEW DELHI: The popular 'carabeef' (buffalo meat) dish will be back on the menu of Kerala House here from Wednesday.

Kerala House officials took it off the menu following a complaint by a little known Hindu group opposed to beef consumption and after some 20 Delhi Police officials visited the premises on Monday.

The police action triggered allegations of "intolerance" and an attack on the federal structure by chief ministers of Kerala, Delhi and West Bengal besides Left leaders.

Officials from Kerala House confirmed on Tuesday they had got orders from Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to bring back the 'carabeef'.

Sudheesh Kumar of Kerala House said: "We are going to bring back carabeef on the menu. We have the approval of Gyanesh Kumar, the Resident Commissioner of the Kerala government, as well."

Sudheesh Kumar said Kerala House serves Kerala cuisine which includes buffalo meat.
Nandini Nair, a south Delhi resident and a regular at Kerala House for its beef dish, said: "This is really welcome. We were really disheartened when we read about the dish being discontinued."

Chief Minister Chandy has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct Home Minister Rajnath Singh to take action against the police officers who "raided" the Kerala House.  

VHP demands action against those serving beef in Kerala House

NEW DELHI: VHP today demanded strong action against those behind the alleged serving of beef in Kerala House in the national capital.

VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain also termed as a "deep conspiracy" to include 'Beef' in the menu of Kerala's state guest house and writing it in Malayalam while all other items were listed in English.

"VHP demands strong action against serving beef in Kerala House," he said, and demanded action against all those who prevented Delhi Police from taking samples from the mess.

"It is very condemnable and illegal to include 'beef' in the menu of a government mess and written in Malayali while all other items served there are listed in English," Jain said.

The VHP leader also said beef across the world is known as 'cow meat' and listing it in the menu of a government mess is "mischievous".

The outfit also condemned leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly V Achutanandan's alleged comments in assembly that hurt Hindu sentiments.

A political row broke out over Delhi Police entering the state-run Kerala House on a complaint that it serves beef with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy condemning the "raid" as "unfortunate", which was also backed by his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal.

Act against Delhi Police: Oommen Chandy writes to PM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Slamming the "raid" at Kerala House in New Delhi over an allegation that beef was being serve there, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi terming the episode "highly objectionable".

Charging that Delhi Police had overstepped their brief, he asked Modi to take strong action over the incident. And, even as criticism was voiced by Congress and Left parties in the state over the matter, two key Kerala MPs vowed to raise the issue in Parliament during the Winter session.

Congress Deputy Chief Whip in Lok Sabha, KC Venugopal, and CPI(M) Deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, KN Balagopal, said they would take up the incident and raise the issue of killings in the name of consumption of beef when Parliament meets next month.

In his letter to the prime minister, Chandy termed "highly objectionable" the raid by Delhi Police at the canteen at Kerala House and sought stringent action against those responsible for the action at the state-run guest house.

"I feel that the action by Delhi Police is highly objectionable and they have clearly overstepped their brief," the Chief Minister said.

Detailing the incident, Chandy charged that a few unidentified persons accompanied by Delhi Police officials last evening came to Kerala House and conducted a raid on the staff canteen.

They disrupted the functioning of the canteen alleging that cooked cow meat was being served, Chandy claimed, adding that the complaint was based on "wrong information".

Delhi Police officials questioned the staff regarding the food items served at the canteen and Chandy said that the "raid" was conducted without any permission or prior information to local state government officials, he said.

Kerala government has already lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police Commissioner in this regard, he said.

Chandy told the prime minister that the Kerala House canteen served authentic vegetarian and non-vegetarian state cuisine and the items on the menu were in accordance with and "entirely within the confines of the existing law".

He wanted Modi to instruct the Union Home Minister to take action against those responsible for the act and also ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

Meanwhile, among the political leaders who slammed the incident were former Defence Minister AK Antony, state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, KPCC President VM Sudheeran and LDF leaders.

Chennithala said the police action was an infringement on the powers of the state while Sudheeran termed the issue a challenge to the "Federal set up of the country".

Congress leader Antony said that the freedom of an individual to eat and wear what he or she felt like should not be infringed upon.

CPI(M) Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that the police action at Kerala House was part of Sangh Parivar agenda as he sought to attack the BJP-led government at the Centre.

"There is neither any ban on beef in Delhi nor any restriction to cook or sell it at Kerala House. Delhi Police's illegal action is part of the Sangh Parivar agenda," Vijayan, former CPI-M state secretary said in a Facebook post.

In Kochi,  Venugopal said the Prime Minister would have to answer in Parliament for the "searches" at the guest house.

"Who gave authority to Delhi Police to conduct searches at Kerala House? I condemn the Prime Minister's inaction against the fascist elements trying to interfere with the food habits of crores of people of the nation," said Venugopal.

Accusing the prime minister of "keeping silent for days" after the Dadri lynching, Balagopal said, "Modi will have to answer us in Parliament about violent incidents occurring under his rule in the country over consumption of food.

"Delhi Police was acting at the behest of the forces trying to infringe upon the fundamental rights of the people of the country."

The Rajya Sabha MP further told PTI in Kochi that the issue will be raised in Parliament when it convenes for the Winter Session "because it is a question of the fundamental rights of Malayalees".

Result of Chandy rule a big zero: Pannyan

ALAPPUZHA: CPI State secretariat member Pannyan Raveendran has said the result of last four and half years’ governance in the State is a big zero. He opined that Malayalis would be voting after thinking about their future security for life. He was taking part in the face-to-face programme held at the Alappuzha Press Club on Tuesday.

“India has now become a turbulent country. Kerala was always safe in the past even when in other parts of the country, there was threat to life. But now, here also there is no peace. So, people will think before they vote. Only the Left can protect the secular character of the State and people here have realised this after many experiences. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is ready to do anything to remain in power. On the other hand Sangh Parivar forces are hurting religious sentiments in the name of God when it comes to cow slaughter. BJP has started showing its real face after being in power for some time. The chief minister has become a scare crow in front of BJP-RSS forces, which act according to their whims,” the CPI leader said, adding,  “ the Left doesn’t need votes in the name of religion and caste”.

Pannyan also made light of the concept of Third Front in Kerala, calling it a “mere day dream”.

Political fight erupts over Kerala House 'beef' row

KOZHIKODE/NEW DELHI: A political row broke out Tuesday over Delhi police entering the state-run Kerala House on a complaint that it serves beef with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy condemning the "raid" as "unfortunate" and he was also backed by his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal.

Using the incident to hit out at the Modi government, Kejriwal, the AAP chief, said the police action was an "attack on the federal structure", a charge rejected by BJP.

The BJP justified the police action at the restaurant in Kerala government's guest house in Delhi, saying it was only making inquiries following a complaint and was well within its right under the law of the land.

Accusing Chandy of "politicizing" the issue, BJP said serving of beef in restaurants in Delhi was illegal. The Kerala House dismissed allegations that beef curry was served at its premises, saying that only buffalo meat was offered. However, it has temporarily taken buffalo meat off the canteen menu.

It said that a complaint has been lodged over entry of activists without permission yesterday following a call to police complaining about cow meat on the canteen menu.

"Kerala House is not a private hotel or an institution run for making profit. It is an official guest house of the state government. The police action was really unfortunate. They should have shown some restraint before carrying out searches," Chandy, a Congress leader, said in Kozhikode, while voicing his protest. Cutting across party lines, state political leaders supported Chandy.

Chandy said some people were unnecessarily creating a row over the beef ban and that his government would take up the issue of Delhi Police's action with the Centre.

Kerala Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson while categorically denying that cow meat was served at Kerala House said they will wait for "police action" in the wake of the complaint by the state's Resident Commissioner over entry of activists.

"I totally deny that cow meat was served here (canteen of Kerala House). Only buffalo meat is served," Thomson said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also waded into the beef row. "I strongly condemn what happened in Delhi at Kerala Bhavan. An unwise and unhealthy attempt to curb fundamental rights of people. Intolerance," she said.

A PCR call by a person claiming to belong to a fringe right-wing group yesterday complaining that beef was being served at Kerala House's canteen had seen Delhi Police personnel rush to the premises.

Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the incident amounted to an infringement of the powers of the state. Kerala government would soon send a letter to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi expressing the state's strong protest over the issue, he added.

Kejriwal while condemning the "raid" by Delhi Police wondered if a CM would be arrested from a state guest house if he was suspected of eating something that BJP does not like.

"It is an attack on federal structure. Delhi police is acting like BJP Sena," he said.

Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi on his part said, "It was not a raid. It was in fact a preventive measure as per our standing operating procedures."

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu rejected Kejriwal's remark that the police action was an attack on federal structure, saying police was only making inquiries.

"The police action was right and was a preventive measure within the law of land. Chandy is trying to politicise the incident," BJP spokesman Siddharnath Nath Singh. Congress leader Tom Vadakkan accused the Delhi Police of indulging in "moral policing".

Govt trying to subvert Chandrabose murder case: Kodiyeri

ALAPPUZHA: The government is trying to subvert the murder case of Chandrabose, a security guard of Sobha City in the district, alleged CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakirshnan. Talking to the media, he said one of the main witnesses turning hostile is a lapse on the side of the prosecution.

The government is opposing further probe in Swamy Saswathikananda’s death case. The government is not taking a favorable stand for a further probe in the court. The statement of the Kerala High Court in the case is quite serious. The home minister had stated that if there are any new revelations or evidences, further probe can be conducted. However, the government is taking another stand in the court, blamed Kodiyeri.

Saswathikananda died during the tenure of the then chief minister A K Antony. The revelations not made then were revealed now, he said. In this situation, a probe should be conducted on it, he said.

Still adhering to statement against T V Thomas: Powathil

KOTTAYAM: Changanassery Archdiocese former head Archbishop Mar Joseph Powathil has clarified that he still adheres to his statement he had given against T V Thomas decades ago.

The archbishop had said that Industries Minister TV Thomas secretly supported the Catholic Church in the strike held by private college managements in 1972 against Achutha Menon ministry. He said he had no memory loss and what he said was true. His revelation appeared in his auto biography published in the November edition of Changanassery Archdiocese publication ‘Kudumbajyothi’. The chapter has been titled “Sambavabahulamaya 1972(3)”.

TV Thomas, who was the minister then, went in his car to the Changanassery church and assured his support. Powathil says Thomas had not lost his faith in God then and he didn’t shy away from making confessions before priests.  

Meanwhile, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has rejected Powathil’s statement. “Powathil has never said anything good about Communists,” he said in reply to a question at a press conference here on Tuesday.

Local body poll is semi-final: Antony

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: AICC working committee member and senior Congress leader A K Antony has likened local body election to the semi-final of the Assembly election. The BJP would be expelled in the semi-final and in the finals, the real fight will be between the UDF and LDF.

Antony was speaking to media persons at a press conference here.

“UDF will continue its governance and circumstances are conducive for that. The government has excelled in all fields and in the maintenance of law and order situation, Kerala is in the first place among Indian states. The government has been implementing people-friendly programmes and projects,” he said.

He said there is no differences of opinion over who would lead the party in the Assembly election. The discussions about the chief ministerial candidate was untimely. He also dismissed the reports that Congress-League relationship had been strained.
Antony said: “People in the North India are living under constant threat. It is the BJP and Sangh Parivar organisations that decide what to eat and what to wear. The nation is moving towards a dangerous situation. Modi’s last year rule was an embarrassment. Moreover, he announced his first year’s achievement from RSS headquarters.”

Anotny said the party was open to any kind of investigation into Swami Saswathikananda’s death. “At that time the probe team had come to the conclusion that it was a case of drowning. Notwithstanding this, it is better to clear all doubts,” he added.

Beef issue: CM should inform protest to PM, says Kodiyeri

ALAPPUZHA: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should directly meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and convey the protest in connection with the beef served at the Kerala House, said CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The centre’s move to implement the agenda of the RSS is behind this incident, Kodiyeri said while talking at the election programme of the Alappuzha Press Club. This is centre’s challenge towards the state’s federal power and it cannot be accepted at all. The chief minister should uphold the dignity of the state after expressing the state’s protest to Modi, he said.

Buffalo meat was served at Kerala House, says CS

NEW DELHI: Chief secretary Jiji Thomson said cow meat was not served at the Kerala House in Delhi instead buffalo meet was served. Talking to reporters after visiting Kerala House, he said a complaint will be lodged at the Parliament Police Station in connection with the incident.

The Kerala House authorities had informed me that buffalo meet was served. Buffalo meat is usually served at the Kerala House. The Delhi police may have conducted a raid out of misunderstanding. The incident is taken seriously. A complaint has been lodged to the resident commissioner against those who barged into the Kerala House. It is the duty of the government to assure the safety of the employees, he said.

In reply to a question whether there is any political conspiracy, he said it cannot be said. Further steps will be taken after a detailed examination, he said.

Chandrabose murder case: Anoop changes statement again

THRISSUR: In a dramatic twist, Anoop, the security supervisor of Sobha City and the first witness who turned hostile yesterday during the trial in the murder case of Chandrabose, a security guard of the apartment, retracted his statement today. He told the court that he had witnessed Nisham, the first accused in the case, attacking Chandrabose. He said that he retracted the statement following a threat by Nisham’s brother Abdul Razaq.

I have not seen Nisham arguing with Chandrabose. Anoop had stated yesterday that Chandrabose had an enmity towards Nisham for not sticking the sticker of Sobha City.

However, he told the court that what he said yesterday was all lies. Nisham after an argument with Chandrabose struck him with his hummer. Anoop said that his wife had asked him to tell the truth. Following that, I decided to reveal the truth before the court, he said.

The court had yesterday accepted prosecution’s demand seeking a case against Anoop for perjury.

Wreath found in front of BJP candidate's house

CHERUPUZHA: A wreath and a threatening letter were found in front of the house of a BJP candidate within the Peringome Police station limits. The strange way of expressing the political rivalry was seen in front of the house of the BJP candidate Pavithran (Padinjare House), contesting from the ninth ward of Eramam-Kuttoor Panchayat.

The wreath was noticed in the sit-out on Tuesday morning when Pavithran came out of the house. He had reached home late at night, the previous day.

The letter attached to the wreath read” ‘This is red sand. You will not be allowed to flourish here..”,

Coming to know about the incident, Peringome police reached the spot and started the investigation. Wreath was later taken to the police station.  

Chandrabose murder: Police protection for witnesses if required, says Chennithala

THRISSUR: If required, police protection would be given to the witnesses in the murder case of Chandrabose, a security guard of Sobha City, said Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala. First witness turning hostile in the case is seen seriously, he said. Talking to reporters here, he said necessary steps will be taken after examining it.

Chennithala said maximum punishment should be awarded to Nisham, accused in the murder case. The government do not have a soft approach on it. DGP Jacob Thomas was given a top post after I became the home minister. His transfer is quite natural. The officials are supposed to implement the decisions of the government and if it is not done, taking action is an ordinary incident, he said.

He condemned the police raid at the Kerala House. Permission should have been
sought before conducting a raid at the Kerala Government owned institution. The government’s discontent will be informed to Delhi Lt Governor, he said.

BJP activist sustains serious injuries

NEYYATINKARA: A BJP activist was hacked at Marayamuttam in Neyyatinkara. He has been identified as Deepu (38) of Kulathamal. Deepu, who sustained serious injuries on his head, ear and back, has been admitted at the medical college hospital in a serious condition. He will be subjected for an emergency operation today.

He was hacked inside the BJP election committee office at Parakottukkonam at 9 pm last night. He was hacked by a three-member team after barging into the booth office. He was first taken to Neyyatinkara taluk hospital and later to the medical college hospital.

Man found dead

PATHANAMTHITTA: A man was found beaten to death at Ezhamkkulam in the district. He has been identified as Mohanan of Puthumala. The body was found Tuesday morning.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Chandrabose murder case: Court declares first witness hostile

THRISSUR: The prosecution Monday suffered a strong setback on the first day of the trial in the case where Chandrabose, a security guard at Sobha City, was killed by controversial businessman Mohammed Nisham. Anoop, first witness in the case and the supervisor of Sobha City, retracted his statement in the court and following that, the court declared him as hostile.  

Anoop had earlier given a statement before the magistrate that he had witnessed Nisham assaulting Chandrabose. He also stated that he was also attacked. However, he retracted his statement today. He appeared before the Thrissur additional sessions court and said that he had not witnessed the attack. He also said that he had not seen the fight between the two on January 29, the day the incident happened.

The court will also cross examine Sobha City company driver Ajeesh. The trial which started today will be till November 7. The trial will be conducted every day except holidays and election days. On that days, Nisham will be lodged in Thrissur Jail. There are altogether 108 witnesses in the case.

Amal, Nisham’s wife, who was with him at that time, is the 11th witness and Chandrabose’ wife Jamanthy, the twelfth witness. Other witnesses are the residents of Sobha City.

Chandrabose was injured by Nisham by hitting him with his jeep, alleging that the security guard was late in opening the gate for him on January 29. Chandrabose died on February 16 while undergoing treatment.

CM, Chennithala trying to save Vellappally, says VS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala are trying to save SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan in connection with the corruption in microfinance, alleged opposition leader V S Achuthanandan. Instead of handing over my complaint to the police, both the chief minister and the home minister are playing with it back and forth. This is a tactic to create an obstacle against me approaching the court, he said in a statement.

He criticised the chief minister for trying to teach secular politics to the CPM.  The approach of the CPM towards communalism is very clear. The communist party grew up in Kerala after facing all kinds of communal politics. It was the CPM who fought against communal forces when riots in Thalassery flared up. The congress tried to reach the BJP candidate in the assembly through Vadakara-Beypore model, he said in the statement.

Development activities behind UDF's success: Chandy

KALPATTA: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said the reason for the UDF’s poll victories (by-election, assembly election) ever since it came to power is its various development activities taken up sincerely.

Chandy was speaking at UDF election meet at Kalpatta.

“The UDF government which came to power with the majority of just two MLAs could govern till this date just because of the support of the people. Despite allegations, there have been no issues within the UDF and this was proved by various elections held during its tenure,” he said, adding, “the trend would also continue in the Panchayat election”.

Taking a dig at Modi government and its national glamour, Chandy said BJP’s attempt to influence the people in Kerala with the support of the Centre would go in vain as Modi had not kept his promises. Kerala had always stood for secularism and hence the State would crush BJP’s communal face.

Regarding the allegation that UDF is the agent of private school-college managements, Chandy said, of the total 26 arts and science colleges allotted in the State, 23 are government colleges, which also include the one in Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s Thalassery constituency. The rest three aided colleges had been allotted to SC/ST classes.

“Only Congress can compete with BJP. Incidentally, the CPM has always backed the BJP; CPM has supported BJP to help Jana Sangh (during emergency) and VP Singh come to power. All formalities regarding Churambadal Road and Wayanad Medical College are complete and their works will be completed soon after the election,” he said, adding that the Congress had spent 10 times more than the LDF for the benefit of Panchayats.

Never mind if I don’t appear on posters: P P Thankachan

KOCHI: UDF convenor P P Thankachan has said that he has no complaints about his photo not appearing on election posters. “For the past 12 years all UDF publications carried my picture,” he told media persons on Monday.

He said he didn’t know the reason for the change and he would bring the matter to the notice of KPCC president V M Sudheeran.

Disqualification of PC George: Decision on November 7

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A decision will be taken on November 7 on the petition for the disqualification of P C George MLA on the basis of the Anti-defection law.                                                                            

The last argument on the case will be heard on November 6. While the recording of statements was going on, George had expressed his willingness to resign.

Dangerous dogs can be killed: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that rabid and dangerous dogs can be killed while others should be vaccinated or put in protection centres. The court also refused to stay the high court order on killing of rabid/violent dogs.

The petition was filed by animal lover Anupam Tripadi, citing that innocent dogs were being killed in masses under cover of the high court order.

The court pointed out that the stray dog issue worsened as rules framed on the basis of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 were not promptly followed. In the rules, there are also no proper definition for street dogs.

The court asked the Animal Welfare board to file an affidavit after making it also a party in the case.

First global conference on gender equality in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In partnership with UN Women, Kerala government will host India's first-ever global conference on gender equality here from November 12 to 14.

The summit titled 'International Conference on Gender Equality' (ICGE -1), will be held at famed beach destination Kovalam near here and will witness participation of distinguished thought leaders, social activists, research scholars and policymakers from the country and around the world, an official release said today.

President Pranb Mukerjee is likely to attend the three-day event, organised by The Gender Park, an institution under the state's Department of Social Justice known for the highly successful all-women cab service 'She Taxi', the release said.

The taxi service initiative is now being adopted by other states as a powerful model for women's entrepreneurship and a means to ensure their social and financial security.

The conference is billed as the country's first such large-scale exercise in creating an environment to share global knowledge and experiences in reducing gender inequalities.
"Gender, Governance and Inclusion" is the core theme of the conference that will discuss issues ranging from citizenship, globalisation, work, governance, health, education, disability and the role of media.

Dr Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, Representative, UN Women's Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka said, "We are at a critical time in history. The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by UN Member States in September 2015 place gender equality and women's empowerment at the centre of the global development agenda.

"I am certain that the International Conference on Gender Equality being organised by the Gender Park, Government of Kerala, in partnership with UN Women, will spur renewed political commitment and re-energise action on gender equality," Tavares said.

P T M Sunish, CEO, The Gender Park said, it was "an honour and privilege" for the state of Kerala to host a conference of such caliber.

"There are pressing gender equity issues that need to be addressed and I am certain this conference will provide the ideal platform for just that; to generate a pool of ideas that can be built on and implemented successfully at both the national and international levels," he said.

The conference aims to entail an informative and interactive program that will include plenary sessions, thematic paper presentations and panel discussions by gender experts from around the world and poster presentations by young scholars.
Kerala's draft policy on transgender rights will also be discussed during the three-day event.

No leadership dispute in Congress, says Chandy

KOZHIKODE: There has never been a dispute over the leadership in the congress, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Addressing a face to face programme at the Kozhikode Press Club, he said a decision on who will lead the congress in the next assembly polls will be taken by the high command and the MLAs.

The congress has a strong leadership. The leadership issue has never been a subject of dispute in the party and it will be like that again. The congress is a party with a democratic behavior. Chandy said KPCC chief V M Sudheeran himself has clarified on his statement that the former will lead the next assembly polls. I have nothing more to say on that, he said.

Chandy welcomed CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan’s statement that Muslim League is not a communal party. I am happy that Pinarayi has accepted it after a delay. The cordial race between the CPM and the CPI is not seen between the congress and the league in Malappuram, he said.

Chandy said there is no relationship between the BJP and the Congress. I am serving as an MLA for the past 45 years. I don’t know that Congress has tried to make an alliance with the BJP even once. Meantime, the people of the state knows that Pinarayi Vijayan had tried to make an alliance with the BJP. The alliance between the congress, BJP and the League were made to insult K Karunakaran, he said.

I held talks with the bishops in connection with the Kasturirangan issue. The bishops had given a memorandum on it earlier. I have informed them not to be anxious on it. The interests of the farmers will be protected fully. I held talks with RMP leader N Venu when he came to submit a memorandum and it was not a secret meeting. I met him along with some others, he said.

Banning beef in Kerala House is incorrect. It is wrong on the part of the police to conduct a raid without permission. Steps will be taken after collecting details on it, he said.

Beef ban in Kerala House as part of Sangh Parivar agenda: Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Beef was banned in the Kerala House as part of the agenda of the Sangh Parivar, said CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan. The same forces that killed a person at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh for eating beef, entered the kitchen of the Kerala House, Pinarayi Facebook post said.

The incident at the Kerala House reveals that they will barge into all kitchens of the state. Beef has not been banned in Delhi and there is no hurdle in selling cooked beef in the Kerala House. The Delhi police cautions that they will do anything in places even coming under the Kerala Government, he said. 

Oommen Chandy calls on Bishops

KOZHIKODE: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy called on Kozhikode Bishop Varghese Chakkalakkal and Thamarassery Bishop Mar Remigius Inchananiyil at Kozhikode Bishop House Tuesday morning at 7.30 am.

The meeting was held at a time when the church was constantly raising criticism against the government on the Kasturirangan issue. The bishops later told reporters that the chief minister had assured to solve their anxiety on it. No discussion on politics were held, they added.

Meantime, the chief minister refused to divulge the details of the talks.

Geeta returns from Pakistan, will be reunited with family after DNA test

NEW DELHI: Nearly 15 years after she accidentally crossed over to Pakistan, Geeta, a deaf-mute girl whose story has touched people on both sides of the border, returned here Monday.

Pakistan International Airlines flight PK 272 carrying 23-year-old Geeta from Karachi landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at around 1030 hours where she was given a warm welcome.

Dressed in a white-red salwar suit and her head covered with dupatta, she waved to the waiting people. She was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station.

She was adopted by the Edhi Foundation's Bilquees Edhi and lived with her in Karachi. Bilquis and her grandchildren, Saba and Saad Edhi, are accompanying Geeta.

Her story came to light after the release of Salman Khan starrer 'Bajrangi Bhaijaan' in which the hero unites a girl separated from her Pakistani mother who was visiting India.

Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, T C A Raghavan, and his wife had visited Geeta in August after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj directed him to meet her and try to locate her family.

Before boarding the PIA flight from Karachi, a beaming Geeta thanked the Pakistani people for taking care of her.

Faisal Edhi of the Edhi foundation told reporters in Karachi that they would continue to stay in touch with Geeta through social media and even visit her.

"She is not really separating from us," he said.

Sources had earlier said that Geeta has identified her father, step-mother and siblings from a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The family reportedly lives in Bihar.

Swaraj had said that Geeta would be handed over to the family after DNA test. The Ministry had said Geeta would return to the country as she is "India's daughter", irrespective of whether her family is traced or not.