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Crime
The girl went missing on Thursday and the body was found in a plantain garden on Saturday.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 19:08
Representational image

In a gruesome crime, a 15 -year old girl has been killed and buried in a plantain garden, allegedly by her stalker at Areeparampu near Manarcaud in Kottayam.  The girl, who was from Ayarkunnam, had been missing since Thursday.  The body was found in the plantain garden, on the site of a  hollow bricks factory on Saturday.

The Ayarkunnam police have arrested the alleged stalker Ajesh in connection with the crime. The 31-year-old  is a driver of a tipper lorry which belongs to the factory. Ajesh reportedly used to call the girl over phone as well. The police have been investigating the missing complaint case filed by the girl's parents on Friday.

During investigation, the police traced the call details of the girl in which they found Ajesh's phone number.

“In the details, Ajesh's number was there. He had made multiple calls to the girl. Hence we nabbed him on Friday evening. He, even after doing the crime, didn’t flee the place, and instead stayed in the vicinity only. He is from Manarcaud,” Aayrkunnam Sub Inspector Anoop Jose told TNM.

Though some reports suggest that the girl was killed when she resisted a rape attempt by the accused, the Sub Inspector declined to confirm it. 

“That is something we have to ascertain. We recorded his arrest and he has confessed to the crime,” he claimed.

A team of police personnel led by Anoop Jose have been collecting more details about the crime. The police allegedly found the body based on the information given by the accused. However, the police is yet to get a clear picture on the motive for the crime.

 “The investigation has just begun and we won’t be able to divulge much details. But as of now, what we have learnt is that the accused had been stalking her for a while," the police said.

The girl’s family is from Ayarkunnam. However, the crime happened at Areeparamba which is under the jurisdiction of the Manarcaud police station. 

 

 

Court
Banwarilal Purohit was speaking at an awards function held at Royal Meridien in Guindy on Saturday where he was the guest of honour.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 18:19
File Image

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has supported the adoption of the double-language policy in high courts. He was speaking at Sattakadir’s (a law journal) silver jubilee and awards function held at Royal Meridien in Guindy, Chennai on Saturday where he was the guest of honour. The award function also had a few panel discussions on its agenda.

“During the course of the day, I noticed that there will be discussions on three important topics. One is state official language and additional language for Indian High Court. I support this. I totally support this. Even our President propagated that and told all the judges who were present, he pressurised that at least you adopt it,” he said. The court language across the country currently is English.

In 2006, the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly passed a resolution to push the central government to make Tamil the official language of the Madras High Court. This proposal was forwarded to the Chief Justice of India for advice. The Chief Justice in 2012 intimated that the matter was discussed in a Full Court with all the judges of the court and was eventually rejected by them. This was confirmed by the Union Minister of State for Law and Justice PP Chaudhary in his answer to AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa in February 2018 in Parliament.

Proposals to make Tamil the official language were rejected earlier by the Supreme Court in 1997 and 1999 following Full Court deliberations then as well.

CPI leader R Nallakannu also spoke at an indefinite fast organised by a group of six advocates and three activists on the matter in 2017, saying that a parliamentary committee had observed that judicial consultation is not required to make a state language as the official language of the respective high court. 

Politics
KTR was responding to AP CM Chandrababu Naidu’s remarks that YSRCP, TRS and BJP are attacking Andhra like “vultures”.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 18:07

Telangana Rashtra Samithi Working President KT Rama Rao hit out at Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for blaming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in order to cover up his failures.

KTR was responding to the remarks made by Chandrababu Naidu who had said that YSRCP, TRS and BJP are attacking Andhra Pradesh like ‘'vultures’ following YSRCP’s decision to join the Federal Front proposed by KCR.

Slamming Naidu, KTR said, “Who is the vulture? For four-and-a-half years you were working with Prime Minister Modi. Today, to cover your inefficiency and failure you're pointing fingers at Prime Minister and others, and trying to mislead the people of Andhra Pradesh.”

Appealing to the Andhra people, KTR said, "From the beginning TRS has been saying that we can be divided regionally but be together as people. We said that we'll part ways like brothers and compete in development, but we never hindered Andhra's progress or spoke against them. During Telangana struggle we would have exchanged barbs, but post state bifurcation, all the Andhra people settled in Telangana voted for KCR, which shows that TRS has been working without any regional bias.”

He also took a dig at Chandrababu Naidu’s alliance with the Congress in the recently-held Telangana Elections. “Chandrababu Naidu had said several ill things about Sonia Gandhi in the past. He called her 'corrupt Anaconda', 'Italian mafia' and several things other unspeakable things. But, just to defeat KCR in the elections, he joined hands with them," KTR said.

Earlier this week, the Andhra opposition party, YSRCP, joined the Federal Front proposed by Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president, K Chandrasekhar Rao.

While it was TRS Working President KTR who visited YSRCP chief Jaganmohan Reddy at his residence in Hyderabad and discussed the Federal Front, KCR is expected to meet Jagan shortly in Andhra Pradesh to take their talks further. The Front is an anti-BJP and anti-Congress coalition. However, Naidu has claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behind the Federal Front. The TDP also reacting strongly against Jagan for joining hands with TRS, and called him a ‘betrayer’.

 
Sabarimala
The Ranni court rejected the plea citing that the circumstances that necessitated his bail conditions, which included that he must not enter Pathanamthitta district, remained in place.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 17:36

The Ranni magistrate court in Pathanamthitta on Saturday afternoon rejected BJP State General Secretary K Surendran’s plea for a relaxation of his bail conditions in order to conduct darshan at Sabarimala. The Ranni court rejected the plea citing that the circumstances that necessitated his bail conditions, which included that he must not enter Pathanamthitta district, remained in place.

On December 7, the Kerala High Court had granted K Surendran bail in a case of attempting to trap a woman devotee at Sabarimala on November 5. He was granted bail on the condition that he could not enter Pathanamthitta district for a period of two months, or engage in any disruptive activities at Sabarimala. 

The Ranni magistrate court had also granted K Surendran bail on November 21 after he was taken into preventive detention from Nilakkal at Sabarimala, and charged with using the non-bailable offence of using criminal force to obstruct a public officer, on November 17. His bail conditions in that case included the posting of two sureties as bond, and that he could not enter Ranni taluk for a period of two months.

K Surendran approached the High Court, on January 15, asking for a relaxation in his bail conditions to conduct darshan at Sabarimala for the Makaravilakku festival. The government pled that Surendran’s visit there was planned to precipitate protests in the temple at a time when 35 lakh pilgrims were expected to arrive for the temple’s festival. 

The HC through Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V had rejected the petition and directed him to approach the Ranni magistrate court for a relaxation of his bail conditions. The High Court had also directed the government to file a report on the matter.

Surendran is expected to move the HC once again challenging the Ranni magistrate court order.

Politics
Kumaraswamy further said that the BJP-led government had turned a blind eye to people's problems.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 16:23

Calling upon all regional parties to come together, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday said that they maintained a strong connect with people in the country and are the only ones who can fulfill the aspirations of the people.

Speaking at the United India Rally at Brigade Parade in Kolkata, Kumaraswamy said, "The non-BJP leaders should join hands and root out the BJP. BJP is merely a paper tiger. We the regional parties are the only ones which can understand and fulfill the aspirations of the people," Kumaraswamy said at the United India Rally at the Brigade Parade Ground here.

He also reaffirmed his belief that regional parties understood the common citizen better. "I firmly believe that regional parties have the strong instinct to connect with people and understand and protect the interests of the people of their State," he said.   

Citing examples, he said: "In Tamil Nadu we saw the late M Karunanidhiji who won the hearts of the people and met their aspirations. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, the SP-BSP have been doing a great job. If you go to Andhra Pradesh, (Chief Minister) N Chandrababu Naidu has taken the state to new heights. Mamata Banerjee has transformed West Bengal in the last seven years. She has empowered women in the state. All regional leaders have strived to protect the interest of their states. Real India is at the grassroots. It is one of the strongest democracies in the world."

Terming the Bharatiya Janata Party as "undemocratic and against the Constitution", Kumaraswamy said the Union government has turned deaf and blind to the plight of the common man.

"Today, we are witnessing a system where ironically a democratic government is headed by undemocratic, anti-constitutional leaders at the Centre. They do not respect people's aspirations. The Union Government has turned blind and deaf to the plight of the common man. The irony is that though the states understand their problems, their hands are tied. They were made mute spectators. This is not a healthy sign," he added.

Kumaraswamy also praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who organised the opposition rally, and urged her to look after the well-being of the people.

"Mamata Banerjee's simplicity and the way she responds to their (people's) grievances, the urge she has for the well-being of the people of the country have left indelible impression on me. Didi (elder sister, as Mamata Banerjee is affectionately called) has always been a role model for the country. She has always stood for women empowerment. I am happy to be part of this rally. We will march together to build a new, strong India. My father had taught me over the years the same lesson, to be simple and humble like Didi," he said.

Kumaraswamy was among a number of non-BJP leaders to take part in the event that is being touted as the starting point for the Opposition's campaign for the Lok Sabha elections this year.  

With inputs from IANS

Controversy
The Nivin Pauly film opened to mixed reviews on Friday and the film's PR team appears to be on damage control mode, say social media users.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 16:22

Nivin Pauly's Mikhael, directed by Haneef Adeni and produced by Anto Joseph, opened on Friday to mixed reviews. However, the makers of the film have allegedly been trying to control negative reviews on social media by misusing the Facebook copyright policies. 

Two Facebook groups which discuss films - Movie Tracker and Movie Munshi - have allegedly been blocked due to the efforts of the Mikhael promotions team in a attempt to save the film from getting negative word of mouth. This is the latest instance of the Malayalam film industry trying to silence social media groups that come out with honest reviews. 

Cine Paradiso Club, one of the most vibrant groups on Facebook when it comes to Malayalam cinema discussions, has banned its members from posting anything about Mikhael - good or bad - to show their solidarity with the blocked groups.

“The Movie Tracker and Movie Munshi groups are the latest victims of movie promotion methods that suppress opinions by misusing copyright policies of Facebook. Earlier there was even an instance of blocking a group for using the word "negative" in a sentence of a movie review which was actually positive. It has become a challenge for film groups on Facebook to even discuss such movies since the movie promotion teams are not able to comprehend even a creative review,” Cinema Paradiso Club's post on the issue reads.

“The intolerant attitude of the crew of such movies to the platforms which encourage fair and elaborate reviews can’t be accepted at any cost. Under these circumstances, Cinema Paradiso Club (CPC) has taken a decision to declare solidarity with the blocked groups and also to announce its stand on the issue. No posts (be it good or bad) about the movie will be allowed in the CPC group. The reviews of the movie which have been put on the group have also been removed for the same reason,” the post says.

It further reads, “We don’t expect that such undesirable tendencies will be changed solely because of our decision. But, of course, as a discussion platform, the conversations here could very well make an impact. We are hopeful that those who follow CPC will respond to such malicious tendencies with the same vigour with which they discuss artistic values and the politics of movies.”

The move of blocking the groups has also attracted wrath from film buffs who are active  on social media film platforms. Many have said that something similar happened earlier when some groups put up negative reviews on films like Aami, Ranam. Mohanlal and Villain.

"The trend was started by the crew of films like Villain, Aami, Mohanlal and Ranam. The same strategy of temporarily blocking groups and individuals who post negative reviews is now being followed by the crew of Mikhael as well. It is really funny! I don’t think anyone will even remember these movies beyond two years. But even then, the groups and individuals who assess movies honestly will be here... and they will speak out what they should.. I am showing my middle finger for this kind of derogatory act," social media user Mukesh Kumar said in a post. 

Another user, Mahesh Gopal, has said, "It is better to decide to make a better movie and to work for it, rather than making a movie badly, thinking that it was good and blocking profiles of people who criticise the movie. Movies belong to the viewers once they are released. So, go and make good movies. Not all movies can be made a success simply by "pushing"."

Several posts alleging that their opinion on the film was removed allegedly by the Mikhael PR team using the Facebook copyright law, have also surfaced.

Read: 'Mikhael' review: Nivin Pauly's action thriller falls flat

 

Air Travel
Due to the fog, as many as 40 flights -- 28 departures and 12 arrivals -- were delayed, a statement from the airport operator BIAL said.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 16:22

Cold nights with temperature dropping to a low of 11 degrees Celsius continued in Bengaluru, with fog during early hours disrupting at least 50 flights at the Kempegowda International Airport, officials said on Saturday.

"The maximum temperature in the city over the last 24 hours was 29 degrees Celsius. Fog and mist was common during early morning hours in most areas," the weather bulletin issued at 2 pm by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

While the minimum temperature in Bengaluru city was about 14 degree Celsius, the recording at the Kempegowda International Airport Ltd (KIAL) on the outskirts stood at about 11 degree Celsius.

Due to the fog, as many as 40 flights -- 28 departures and 12 arrivals -- were delayed, a statement from the airport operator Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) said.

"A total of 10 flights were diverted to Chennai, Coimbatore and Hyderabad," it said.

Fight operations were suspended at the airport from 7.04 am to 8.51 am owing to low visibility due to fog, the statement added.

During this week, a total of 209 flight schedules were affected between January 12 and January 18. Out of these, 10 flights scheduled to land in Bengaluru had to be diverted to Hyderabad or Chennai airports.

Out of the total 209 affected flight schedules, 124 flights were delayed for departure, while another 75 were delayed for arrival.   

On four of the seven days, fog was the cause of the flight schedule changes, which led to about 50 flight schedules affected.

On Friday alone, a total of 67 flights were affected, including a BlueDart cargo flight which was diverted to China. Among the other 66 flights, 45 flights were delayed for departure and another 21 were delayed for arrival.

With IANS inputs

Politics
Calling for all opposition parties to unite against the BJP, DMK Chief Stalin said the collective aim of the opposition is to send PM Modi home and save India.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 15:30
Twitter/MKStalin

DMK President MK Stalin launched a scathing attack on the BJP on Saturday stating that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi were to return to power, it would take India back by 50 years. Calling for all opposition parties to unite against the BJP, Stalin said the collective aim is to send Modi home and save India.

He was speaking at the ‘United India Rally’ organised by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on Saturday. Those who attend the rally include non-BJP leaders from other states like Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, NCP’s Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy and Andhra Pradesh CM and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. Congress was represented by leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Abhishek Manu Singhvi from INC, former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, Tejashwi Yadav of RJD were also present. Activist Hardik Patel and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani also spoke at the rally.

Pointing to the host of leaders who were present on Saturday, MK Stalin said that the unity of this team scares Narendra Modi.

“I see India in this stage. People from other states, languages and parties are here. But our thoughts are the same. We should defeat BJP and send Narendra Modi back to his home,” he thundered. The DMK chief also said that the way Modi criticises other leaders on stage shows that he is scared of them all.

“For leaders who are here and who couldn’t come here, our unity has scared Modi. Let us preserve unity and thereby protect India,” declared MK Stalin, drumming up support for a united front against the BJP.

He likened the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections to India’s second freedom struggle, stating, "Tamil Nadu and West Bengal were forerunners in the first freedom struggle of India. This is India's second freedom struggle and I am here at the invitation of Bengal's sister, Iron Lady and simple human being Mamata Banerjee."

Accusing the Prime Minister of making the Indian government a private limited company, Stalin alleged that contrary to Modi’s claims, the regime is filled with corruption. “We all have been saying Rafale Rafale for the past six months. We have also raised questions as to why the deal was given to a private company and not a government company. If this is not corruption what is?” he asked. He also pointed to the absconding businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and demonetisation to highlight the alleged corruption in the Centre.

Lavishing praise on host and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Stalin said, “Narendra Modi is scared of a few people. Mamata Banerjee is one of them. That is why Modi and Amit Shah are scared to come to West Bengal. Mamata Banerjee is an iron lady.”

The rally was organised as a show of unity among the opposition parties in the states.

Karnataka will soon meet Saurashtra in the semi-final.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 13:31
Manish Pandey via Twitter

Karun Nair and Manish Pandey helped Karnataka enter the Ranji Trophy semifinals by coasting to victory against Rajasthan at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Friday. Karnataka will meet the winner of the quarter-final between Saurashtra and Uttar Pradesh next week.

Karun and Manish guided Karnataka out of a tricky spot while chasing 184 to win on the final day. Karnataka had slipped to 56 for 4 when the duo built an unbroken 129-run partnership that took Karnataka to the semifinals. The partnership also came in quick time, in just 24.5 overs.

Karun Nair, who had scored only one half-century in the season before this innings, shrugged off concerns over his form to make a patient 61 off 129 balls while Manish Pandey scored a freewheeling 87 off just 75 balls. 

Rajasthan had scored 224 in the first innings thanks to 50-run scores by skipper Mahipal Lomrov (50) and Rajesh Bishnoi (79). Karnataka, in response, was helped by Vinay Kumar and Rohit More's steady batting in the first innings as the duo put up 97 in the last wicket, taking the score from 166 for 9 to 263. The partnership turned out to be crucial in the context of the game and took the contest away from Rajasthan.

In the second innings, Rajasthan was dismissed for 222 leaving Karnataka with a chase of 184 that was achieved in quick time thanks to the partnership by Karun and Manish. 

Karnataka joined Kerala, Saurashtra and Vidarbha in the semi-finals and will now play Saurashtra on January 24. Kerala had earlier scripted history to make it to its maiden Ranji Trophy semifinal appearance with a win over Gujarat. 

Brief Scores

Rajasthan 224 and 222 (Robin Bist 44), Karnataka 263 and 185/4 (Manish Pandey 87*)

 

Sterlite
Student leader Santhosh Raj, who shot to fame for questioning Rajinikanth in June 2018, was arrested for distributing anti-Sterlite pamphlets in his college.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 12:21
File photo: Santhosh

The village of Pandarampatti in Thoothukudi remained tense after a sit-in protest was organised by residents demanding the release of anti-Sterlite protester and student leader K Santhosh Raj. He was arrested on Thursday for allegedly distributing anti-Sterlite pamphlets in his college.

According to reports, residents of Pandarampatti blocked roads disrupting vehicular traffic, chanted slogans against the police on Thursday and Friday. The Hindu reports that police personnel have been deployed in the village to ensure law and order is maintained.

Santhosh who hails from Pandarampatti village is the President of the All College Students’ Federation.

Speaking to TNM, a police officer says that Santhosh was arrested for distributing pamphlets that promoting enmity. He says, “The message in them were in the tone of spreading hatred among the people. Hence we have arrested and remanded him. “

Santhosh has been lodged in Palayamkottai prison and an FIR has been registered under sections 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) , 153B (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 505(1) and (2) (Statements conducing to public mischief) read with 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of IPC.

According to a report in New Indian Express, Santhosh's mother had told the media that her son left the house around 11.30 am on Thursday after he received an "emergency" phone call.

Student activist K Santhosh Raj from Thoothukudi had gained popularity in June 2018 for asking Rajinikanth  ‘Who are you?’. He had been injured in the anti-Sterlite agitations on May 22, 2018 after police opened fire at the protesters, who had been demanding the closure of the copper plant in Thoothukudi. Weeks after the firing, Rajini visited those who had been injured at the government hospital.

When Rajini had approached Santhosh's bed in the hospital, the youth asked him “Who are you?”. To this, the actor replied, “It’s me, Rajinikanth.” This video immediately became viral, and earned criticism from the actor's fans.

Santhosh was then forced to clarify that he did not mean to insult the actor-turned-politician by his ardent fans.