Festival fiasco and damage control
The Kerala police landed the government in an embarrassing position after they registered a case against 11,000 women who had gathered for Attukal Pongala,an annual festival,at a temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The police were enforcing a High Court order against meetings that obstruct traffic at public places,but their action contradicted what Chief Minister Ommen Chandy had announced in the Assembly a few days earlier: that this gathering had been exempted. When cases were registered cases at two police stations and FIRs submitted in the court,the Opposition and Hindu organisations called the action an insult to the devout. The chief minister then ordered withdrawal of the case and the government suspended a police officer.
Joy again,thanks to VS
A disparaging comment by Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has ended up reviving Sindhu Joys political significance. A rebel who dumped the CPM for the Congress,she had been cooling her heels since last years elections. It changed the day after VS said that in the Congress,she faces a situation similar to that of a prostitute who is thrown out after several rounds of handling. The Congress pitched Joy as its star campaigner for the Piravom bypoll. She now addresses meeting after meeting,always flanked by senior leaders. Last year,after she had left the CPM on being denied an Assembly ticket,the Congress had sent her on tours across Kerala to attack her former party.
Back with palmolein
Bureaucrat-turned-politician Alphonse Kannanthanam has kept alive the nearly two-decade-old palmolein corruption case. On Wednesday,Kannanthanam filed a petition in the vigilance court in Thrissur,demanding that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy be made an accused in the case. Chandy was the finance minister at the time the palmolein was imported in 1991. Kannanthanam,who was then ex-officio director of the state civil supplies corporation,said that it was his objection to the import that cost him that post. Kannanthanam was transferred to Delhi,where he went on to become the commissioner of the Delhi Development Corporation.
Support for Kazmi
The Jamaat-e-Islamis youth wing,Solidarity Youth Movement,has extended support to senior journalist Syed Mohammad Kazmi,who was arrested last week in connection with the alleged terror attack on Israeli diplomats in New Delhi. In a meeting held recently in Kozhikode,the Solidarity Youth Movement pledged its solidarity with Kazmi. Several journalists working with newspapers that are under Muslim management participated in the meeting. Speakers at the meeting condemned the arrest,saying the situation has come to such a pass that anyone can be put behind bars at the behest of the United States and Israel.