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Kochi

Mukherjee says tragic to see universities caught in vortex of violence, disquiet

Declaring that there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday that the country's premier institutions of higher education must resound with creativity and free thinking.

President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ at Kochi in Kerala on March 2, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ at Kochi in Kerala on March 2, 2017.
Declaring that there should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian, President Pranab Mukherjee today said the country's premier institutions of higher education must resound with creativity and free thinking.
 
"Those in Universities must engage in reasoned discussion and debate rather than propagate a culture of unrest. It is tragic to see them caught in the vortex of violence and disquiet," he said while delivering the 6th K.S. Rajamony Memorial Lecture on the topic ‘India@70’ in Kochi.
 
"India was a world leader in the field of education when our Universities like Nalanda and Takshshila were at the height of their glory. Nalanda and Takshshila are not mere geographical expressions but representations of the idea for free thought which flourished in these great Universities of the past.  Our premier institutions of higher education are the vehicles on which India has to propel itself into a knowledge society.  These temples of learning must resound with creativity and free thinking," he said.
 
"There should be no room in India for the intolerant Indian.  India has been since ancient times a bastion of free thought, speech and expression.  Our society has always been characterized by the open contestation of diverse schools of thought and debate as well as discussion.   Freedom of speech and expression is one of the most important fundamental rights guaranteed by our Constitution. There must be space for legitimate criticism and dissent," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee began by speaking about Kerala, which has been the gateway to India for traders and religious missionaries from different parts of the globe. He said the people of Kerala were known for their progressive thinking and the State's impressive achievements in the field of literacy, education, health, gender equality, tourism and culture had brought it global acclaim.
 
Turning to the topic of the lecture, India@70, he said that for 50 years before independence in 1947 the economic growth rate of India was 0% to 1%. "In the fifties, our growth rate rose to 1 – 2%, the sixties 3 – 4% and in the 90s, with economic reforms, to 6 to 7%.  In the last decade, our growth rate has averaged around 8%, making us the fastest growing large economy of the world," he said.
 
"India’s population in 1950 was 360 million. Today, we are a 1.3 billion strong nation.  Our annual per capita income has gone up from Rs. 7,500 at the time of independence to over Rs. 77,000. GDP growth rate has risen from 2.3 percent to 7.9 percent in 2015-16.  Poverty ratio has declined from over 60 percent to less than 25 percent.  Average life expectancy has gone up from 31.4 to 68.4 years. Literacy rate has gone up from 18 to 74 percent. Food grains production has gone up from 45 million to an estimated 272 million tonnes in 2016-17," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee spoke about the progress achieved by the country in the field of food and industrial production, as well as in areas such as space, information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. He said that, in the last 70 years, India had transformed itself from a poor, under-developed nation into the third largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.
 
He said equally important was India's success in consolidating the unity of its nation and democracy in the midst of extraordinary challenges and tremendous diversity.  
 
"We have firmly established within our country the rule of law, an independent judiciary and vibrant media as well as civil society.  We have also created strong institutions like the Election Commission and the CAG who stand as pillars of our political system.  Every known religion in the world, over hundred different languages used in everyday life, 1600 dialects and multiple cultures are united under one flag and one Constitution. Around 553 million people voted in the 2014 General Elections, an exercise matched in scale and scope by none else in the world," he said.
 
The President said the most important legacy bequeathed to the nation by its founding fathers was its Constitution.
 
"A Constitution is a charter for the governance of a nation. The notion of what is good governance must be defined by the need of the times and enriched by the experience of the decades. Yet, the Constitution enshrines certain timeless values that should never be compromised. It is against the touchstone of these values that we must constantly measure our performance," he said.
 
"The Preamble records the resolve of the people of India to secure to all citizens justice - social, economic and political as well as liberty, equality and fraternity.  It also establishes the principle of secularism. Justice - social, economic and political - is in the life of any nation a journey more than a destination. To achieve social justice requires not mere governance but a recasting of mindsets and the transformation of social ethos.  That is the job not just of the legislature, the executive or the courts, but of each one of us.
 
"The ultimate goal of any democracy is the empowerment of the individual, irrespective of his economic, religious or social standing. This may appear to be a utopian dream for many, but the strength of a system lies in its capacity to ceaselessly work for its accomplishment.  The goal of political justice requires the continuous empowerment of marginalised sections of our society. We owe ourselves to create a system in which access to politics is not limited to a privileged few but an average Indian also feels empowered enough to contribute," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said economic development was vital to good governance but stressed that this must be imbued with the principle of equality on which there could be no compromise.
 
"An egalitarian society can only be created when growth is inclusive. It is important to ensure that there is justice and equality of opportunity and the state does not create conditions in which the privileged few gain at the cost of the multitudes who suffer endemic poverty. A sustainable society can only be based on the principles of equity and justice," he said.
 
He said democracy required constant nurturing and at no cost should the exploitation of fault lines be allowed. In this context, he underlined the importance of protection and safety of women and children.
 
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Mr. Mukherjee said the country's leaders and political activists must listen to the people, engage with them, learn from them and respond to their needs and concerns. "Our law makers must never take the people for granted. They must focus on the fundamental task of law making and raising of issues of concern to the people as well as finding solutions to their problems," he said.
 
"Legislation is the first and foremost responsibility of a Parliamentarian. It is most unfortunate that time devoted towards legislation has been gradually declining in our Parliament," he said, citing figures for time lost due to interruptions and adjournments.
 
"No one who holds any elected office has been invited by the voters to occupy that office.  Each one has gone to the voters and pleaded for their votes and support.  The trust placed by the people in the political system and those elected should not be betrayed. Our Legislatures and Parliament must not turn into arenas for combat.  Floor tests are not meant to be muscle tests.  The opportunity to represent the people is not a right or entitlement but a moral obligation and duty.  Our elected representatives owe it to the people of our country to act as models of exemplary conduct," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies were central pillars on which the edifice of democracy   rested. 
 
"They are the supreme institutions comprising of members directly elected by our people.  It is through them that governments are held accountable by the people.  If they become dysfunctional, it results in not just paralysis of those institutions but creates an adverse impact across the system.  The debate and discussions which ought to take place in the open in the House of Parliament and Assemblies cannot be replicated elsewhere.  When they cease to function effectively, issues spill out onto the streets.  The very basis of our democracy gets undermined," he said.
 
The President said the time had come for collective efforts to re-discover the sense of national purpose and patriotism that alone can lift the nation on to the road of sustained progress and prosperity.
 
"The nation and the people must always come first.  Let us strive to arrest the moral decline in our society and ensure that our core civilisational values find firm root.  Let us exert ourselves to strengthen India’s pluralism and diversity.  Let us be uncompromising in rooting out violence, prejudice and hatred.  
 
"Let us strive for rapid progress but even as we do so, ensure that the benefits of economic progress percolate down to the poorest of the poor and those living in the furthest corners of our country.  Let us make the poorest in our land part of the story of a rising India.  Let us embrace education, skill development and innovation which will enable us catapult India into the future and build a knowledge economy, riding the technological wave of the 21st century.
 
"I see a very bright future for India. Our Constitutional values, young population and entrepreneurial abilities as well as capacity for hard work provide us the fundamentals required for rapid progress as well as the building of a caring and compassionate society. India has changed dramatically in the last 70 years.  I am confident that in the next ten years, we will see even greater progress as we steer our nation, focused on further strengthening our open, democratic and inclusive society," he added.
 
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Kerala: Court orders probe against CM Oommen Chandy, Minister Aryadan Mohammad

A Vigilance Court in Thrissur on Thursday ordered registering of an FIR and initiating a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleague Aryadan Mohammad on the bribery allegations raised against them by Saritha S Nair, main accused in the "solar scam".

 
Kerala solar scam: FIR ordered against CM; protestors lathicharged
 
A Vigilance Court here today ordered registering of a first information report (FIR) and initiating a probe against Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleague, Electricity and Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammad, on the bribery allegations raised against them by Saritha S Nair, main accused in the "solar scam".
 
Saritha and her associate Biju Radhakrishnan are accused of having cheated several businessmen and non-resident Indians (NRIs) of large sums of money promising them partnership in a company floated by them, Team Solar Renewable Energy Solutions Pvt Limited, which offered solar energy solutions to institutions and households. 
 
They had also boasted of close connections with Mr Chandy and other ministers and even produced letters on official letterheads to support their claims. The scam came into light when an NRI, Sajad, filed a police complaint accusing them of having defrauded him of Rs 40 lakh. Subsequently, 33 cases were registered against them on various complaints.
 
Saritha, while deposing before the Justice Sivarajan Commission in Kochi yesterday, had alleged that she had paid a bribe totalling Rs 1.90 crore to an aide of the Chief Minister and Rs 40 lakh to Mr Mohammad. Both have denied the charges.
 
However, Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge S S Vasan, taking cognisance of a private complaint, asked the Vigilance Director to file an FIR and complete the probe as early as possible. The court rejected the contention of the government counsel seeking a quick probe into the allegations before initiating proceedings against the Chief Minister. Justice should be equal for all, for the common man as well as Chief Minister, the court observed.
 
The judge said he was not looking into the merits of the complaint against the Chief Minister which is to be considered by the investigating officer. The report is to be submitted to the court on April 14. The court also rejected the submission of the state counsel regarding jurisdiction of the court since the alleged bribery took place in Thiruvananthapuram. However, the court upheld the contention of the complainant P D Joseph, a social activist, that it had also occurred in Kochi, which fell within the purview of the court.
 
Reacting to the court order, Mr Chandy told reporters in Kozhikode that he was prepared to face any inquiry and rejected the opposition demand for his resignation. “My conscience is clear and both of us have done nothing wrong,” he said, speaking on behalf of his ministerial colleague, too.
 
In a related development the Kerala High Court stayed the Thrissur Vigilance Court order of registering an FIR against Mr K Babu, who had resigned his post as Minister following the court order. 
 
Passing the order, High Court Judge P Ubaid observed that the vigilance court had acted in unnecessary haste without waiting for the order of the division bench of the High Court. The stay will be applicable for two months. In the meantime, the court directed the Vigilance Director to conduct a quick probe and submit a report within ten days.
 
Earlier, on January 25, Mr Chandy had deposed before the judicial commission. The deposition, that went on into the night, was completed only in the early hours the next day. He reportedly told the commission that he had met Saritha only three times and came to know about the financial dealings only after her arrest. He had acknowledged receipt of a contribution of Rs 2 lakh to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund in a letter drafted by his office under his letterhead. The letterhead was later found to be misused. He also denied that he had met Saritha in his office along with Sreedharan Nair, a quarry owner and one of the complainants in the scam, as stated by Intelligence ADGP A Hemachandran.
 
The Chief Minister later told reporters that he had refused to undergo a lie-detector test as he had not lied or acted against his conscience. Neither has the state exchequer incurred any loss nor the accused obtained any monetary advantage, he added. 
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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MPEDA hosts the Governing Council Meeting of INFOFISH

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The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) hosted the 32nd Governing Council Meeting of INFOFISH, an Inter Governmental Organization under the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, here from December 11-14.
 
The meeting, held at MPEDA headquarters, was attended by 19 delegates from various countries, including India. It was chaired by Dr. A. Jayathilak IAS, Chairman, MPEDA who is also the Chairman of INFOFISH. 
 
India was represented in the meeting by Mr. P. V. Harikrishna, Director, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, New Delhi and Mr. B. Sreekumar, Secretary, MPEDA.  Delegates from countries such as Cambodia, Fiji, Malaysia, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand attended the meeting.  There was an observer from FAO also.  
 
The meeting had presentations on review of major markets, technological developments, and so on by INFOFISH officers and FAO. 
 
 The meeting had deliberations on the market aspects, interventions required for the trade and the role of INFOFISH in assisting member countries and collaborating with the similar organizations under the FAO umbrella in augmenting trade from the region to different countries, besides following the administrative agenda points including the work programme for 2018. 
 
 As a part of the meeting, a day’s field visit was arranged for the delegates to the aqua farms and seafood processing units in and around Kochi and neighboring districts such as Thrissur and Alappuzha to help them understand the seafood production and processing systems here.
 
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Indian Navy continues search and rescue efforts for Ockhi

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The Indian Navy's Southern Naval Command continued its search and rescue (SAR) efforts for the tenth day over southeast Arabian Sea and near Lakshadweep and Minicoy (L&M) Islands to look for victims of cyclone Ockhi which hit the region.
 
An official press release said ten ships and several aircraft were involved in the operations.
 
In the past 72 hours, the search area was increased up to the coast of Maldives. However, no stranded boats, fishermen or floating bodies have been found in this duration, it said.
 
The release said INS Kalpeni returned to Kochi after completing 96 hours of assisted search by six local fishermen it embarked on December 6. The ship carried out an exhaustive search in areas extending up to 150 miles northwest of L&M Islands to the coast of Calicut and therafter Kochi. The search effort did not find any distressed fishing vessels or floating bodies. 
 
"It was observed that normal fishing activity has resumed in substantial strength especially between Kochi to Calicut," the release said.
 
INS Kabra, INS Sagardhwani and maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I were deployed off the coast of Allepey and south of Thiruvananthapuram, based on inputs received from Kerala State administration of floating bodies in the area. 
 
INS Sujata equipped with Portable Mobile Morgue boxes, sailed out from Kochi today for enabling it to bring bodies if found during the search operations. Thiruvananthapuram sub-collector Divya S. Iyer along with four local fishermen would be embarking the ship at sunrise tomorrow off Vizhinjam port for joining the deep sea search operations, while Indian Coast Guard Ship Abhinav which arrived off Vizhinjam in the evening today embarked 10 fishermen from Pozhiyoor for co-ordinated search. The search is expected to continue up to 72 hours.  
 
A total of 3,25,000 square miles have been searched  and sanitised by Indian Naval assets for providing SAR since the calamity ‘Ockhi’ struck the L & M islands and southeast Arabian Sea.
 
INS Jamuna continued replenishment of fresh water in excess of 14,000 litres today at Kavaratti. The humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) materials and medicines carried by INS Sharda were distributed in the Minicoy Islands. 
 
"Life is slowly becoming normal at the L& M Islands with the schools reopening.  No further help other than the provisioning of daily fresh water at Kavaratti Island is being sought by the civil administration from the Navy," the release added.
 
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Technical Cooperation Non-Cash Grant for Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar and Kochi for urban transport

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Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Bhubaneswar in  Odisha and Kochi in Kerala will receive Technical Cooperation Non-Cash Grant for Urban Transport Activities.
 
An Implementation Agreement on Sustainable Urban Transport project between Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the German development agency GIZ was signed here yesterday in the presence of Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. Mukund Kumar Sinha, OSD & ex officio Joint Secretary, Housing & Urban Affairs and GIZ Country Director Wolfgang Hanning.
 
Under the agreement, an amount of euro four million (approximately Rs. 29 crore) will be given to the three cities for urban transport activities through GIZ over a period of three years. The main objective is to improve planning and implementation of sustainable urban transport, an official press release said.
 
The Annual Negotiations and Consultations between India and Germany in 2015, had listed Technical Cooperation by Germany for Urban Mobility in India as one of measures to be taken. It was later formalised with a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
 
The project will give the desired impetus in three major interventions proposed under Smart City Mission of the Ministry -- ITS based transport solutions, Non-motorised vehicles and Last mile connectivity, the release added.
 
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Malayalam actress Lissy resumes acting career after 25 years

Lissy
Lissy
Lissy, a popular Malayalam actress of yesteryears, has announced her return to an acting career after a gap of 25 years, saying that she regretted quitting movies at the age of 22.
 
"Many of my friends and well wishers have been asking me for quite some time whether I will come back to movies. Well!!! I can now confirm that after over 25 years of absence I am acting in a Telugu movie. 
 
"The movie, yet to be titled, is produced by Telugu star Pavan Kalyan, ace director Thrivikram Srinivas and Sudhakar Reddy, directed by Krishna Chaitanya and has Nithiin and Megha in the lead," Lissy said on her Facebook page. She said she was playing a significant character in the movie.
 
She said that, after so many years of absence, she had faced the camera for the first time in New York.
 
"It was a nervous yet thrilling moment. I must say I had missed it!!! We just finished the first schedule in America and second in Conoor. The movie is scheduled to be released early next year. 
 
"Before I quit acting I had a short but very successful tenure in Telugu. I did 8 movies in Telugu and out of that 6 went on to be super hits which included Magaadu and 20va Satabdham, the remakes of Malayalam movies Moonnam Mura and Irupatham Noottandu, respectively. To be honest I was sad to leave Telugu industry at that time but I had no choice. So when it came to acting I always felt kind of an 'unfinished business' with Telugu cinema," she said.
 
Lissy said she had, in the last three years, heard several subjects in Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu and finally chose this as her comeback movie.
 
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"I had a wonderful experience during both the schedules. The entire crew was very supportive and shooting was lots of fun! The entire crew welcomed me back with both arms and made me feel like I was never away. Most of the offers I had was from Malayalam and I certainly hope to do a Malayalam movie soon. Likewise, having lived more than half of my life in Chennai I consider myself as half Tamilian and it will be an honour to do a Tamil movie at some point. In fact Gautham Menon has mentioned a subject, which we will discuss once he finishes his current projects.
 
"Managing my studios and preview theaters remains my priority but I may do one or two movies per year if the roles are interesting. Quitting acting at the age of 22 when I had my bag full of movies was a decision I always regretted. Obviously I cannot get back my lost years or the roles I may have had but I certainly hope to do my best in this second innings. Thanks for all your support," she added.
 
Lissy had quit acting after her marriage to well-known film director Priyadarshan in December 1990 and adopted the name Lakshmi. The couple divorced in September 2016.
 
She had made her debut in films in the  early 1980s and very soon became on of the top young actresses of that time. Some of her popular films include Chithram, Thalavattom, Odaruthammava Alariyam, Muthaaramkunnu P.O and Boeing Boeing. 
 
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328 cadets pass out from Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala

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As many as 328 cadets of Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard and two International cadets one each from Tanzania and Maldives yesterday passed out of the hallowed portals of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala in Kannur district of Kerala on successful completion of their training. 
 
The passing out parade was reviewed by Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS).    
 
The passing out midshipmen and cadets belonged to four different courses of Autumn Term 2017, comprising 93 Indian Naval Academy Course (BTech), 93 Indian Naval Academy Course (MSc), 24 Naval Orientation Course (Extended) and 25 Naval Orientation Course (Regular).  Also graduating and marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts were 20 female cadets from the Indian Navy.
 
The Admiral, after the ceremonial review, awarded medals to nine meritorious midshipmen and cadets. The reviewing officer in his address congratulated the passing out courses and advised all of them to imbibe and follow the core values of Navy “Duty, Honour and Courage”.
 
Vice Admiral SV Bhokare, Commandant, senior officers of the station and others witnessed the momentous occasion.  The passing out parade was also witnessed by the proud parents and guardians of all successful midshipmen and cadets, as well as by a large number of local and outstation dignitaries, trainee recruits and staff from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Peringome, cadets of Sainik School Satara, Maharashtra, Sainik School Bhubaneshwar, Odisha National Cadets Corps (NCC) cadets, and students and teachers of local schools and colleges.
 
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The ‘President’s Gold Medal’ for the Indian Naval Academy BTech course was awarded to Midshipman Rishav Saha. The ‘Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal’ for the Naval Orientation (Extended) Course was awarded to Cadet Anil Choudhary. The ‘Chief of the Naval Staff Gold Medal’ for the Naval Orientation (Regular) Course was awarded to Cadet Gaurav Tyagi. The ‘Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (South) Medal’ for the best women cadet was awarded to Cadet Anjani Pandey.
 
The ceremony culminated with the successful midshipmen and cadets forming up in two columns and marching with their gleaming swords and rifles held in salute, past the Academy’s Saluting Dias known as the Quarterdeck, in Slow March, to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the poignant farewell tune played by all Armed Forces around the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades. Passing out courses were bid farewell by cadets of the junior term who manned the mast as the successful cadets streamed past the sacred quarterdeck.
 
On completion of the parade, the ‘Shipping of Stripes’ ceremony was conducted.  The proud parents and guardians of the Passing Out courses shipped the Naval and Coast Guard epaulettes, popularly known as ‘Stripes’ on the shoulders of their wards, thus symbolising their transformation from ‘cadets’ into full-fledged Navy and Coast Guard Officers. 
 
The Reviewing Officer and other dignitaries shipped the stripes of the medal winners and congratulated all the trainees for their successful completion of the rigorous training.  On completion of the training at the Indian Naval Academy, these officers will proceed to various Naval and Coast Guard ships/establishments, to further consolidate their training in specialized fields.
 
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Gadkari lays foundation stone for Cochin Shipyard’s Rs 970-crore International Ship Repair Facility

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Cochin Port is all set to become a global ship repair hub, according to  Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari.
 
The Minister, after laying the foundation stone for a Rs 970-crore International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF) for Cochin Shipyard Limited, here yesterday, said the state-of-the-art facility would be able to handle a major chunk of small and medium-sized vessels plying in India.
 
CSL will set up a ship lift system of size 130 m x 25 m with a lifting capacity of 6000 tonnes and six workstations. The facility can repair up to 85 vessels, and the shipyard will be almost doubling the number of ships that can be repaired every year.            
 
Pointing out that this facility will help boost India’s share in commercial ship repair market, Mr Gadkari said the industry will also generate about 6000 direct and indirect jobs, besides giving rise to a number of ancillary industries in the state. It would thus have a multiplier effect on employment and economy.
 
The Minister also inaugurated the conference Build the Ship – 2017 organized by the Ministry of Shipping. The event deliberated upon the recommendations of a study regarding the growth strategies for promotion of Shipbuilding, Ship Design, Ship Repair and Marine Ancillaries in India.
 
At the conference, the Minister announced the launch of a Centre of Excellence in Maritime and Shipbuilding (CEMS), a startup in skill development for maritime and shipbuilding sector. CEMS will have campuses at Vishakhapatnam and Mumbai.
 
It is being set up by the Ministry of Shipping in collaboration with Siemens under the flagship programme Sagarmala. CEMS will provide industry-relevant skill development, equip students with employable engineering and technical skills in the port and maritime sector and contribute to the ambitious Sagarmala programme.
 
It will help meet the domestic skill requirement in ship design, manufacturing, operating and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO). CEMS also aims to become an international nodal centre in South Asia, attracting students from the neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for skill development in the Port and Maritime sector.
 
This initiative will add to the Make in India and Skill India efforts in the maritime sector. Mr Gadkari also unveiled the logo of CEMS at the launch event.
 
A joint venture between CSL & HDPEL- Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd. (HCSL) has been incorporated with CSL holding 74% shares and HDPEL 26% in HCSL. A Shareholders agreement was signed between CSL and HDEPL at the conference for taking over manufacturing facilities of HDEPL in Kolkata.
 
Mr. Gadkari also visited Munnar, where he laid the foundation stone for rehabilitation and upgrading of NH 85 from Bodimettu to Munnar to a two-lane road with a paved shoulder. The 42 km project is estimated to cost Rs 380.76 crore.
 
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Make available HC judgement copies in mother tongue, says Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind today said it is important to not only take justice to the people but also to make it understandable to litigating parties in a language they know.
 
Addressing the valedictory function of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the High Court of Kerala here, Mr Kovind said, “High Courts deliver judgements in English, but we are a country of diverse languages. The litigant may not be conversant with English and the finer points of the judgement may escape him or her. The litigating parties will thus be dependent on the lawyer or another person to translate the judgement. This can add to time and cost.
 
“Perhaps a system could be evolved whereby certified translated copies of judgements are made available by the Honourable High Courts in the local or regional language. This could happen in a period of say 24 or 36 hours after the judgement is pronounced. The language could be Malayalam in the Honourable Kerala High Court or Hindi in the Honourable Patna High Court, as the case may be,” he said.
 
“I have only made a suggestion. It is for the judiciary and the legal fraternity to discuss this and decide as appropriate,” he added.
 
Mr Kovind said the Kerala High Court, known for sensitivity to people’s rights and civil liberties, had through several of its judgements contributed to deepening the traditions of democracy and civic freedom in India.
 
This High Court is also a pioneer in supporting environmental and ecological norms and standards, the President said addressing the valedictory function of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the High Court, he said.
 
It has given important verdicts, including on the right of the people for clean air, clean water; the right of the people for healthy surroundings; assigning the supply of safe drinking water to citizens in adequate quantity as the primary constitutional responsibility of the state and banning of smoking in public places, he added.
 
The judiciary’s fearless and independent functioning and stature have enhanced India’s credibility in the democratic world. Every Indian is proud of the judiciary and respects its verdicts and its commitment to the values that embody our nationhood, Mr Kovind said.
 
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“Our legal system, with an independent judiciary as its bedrock, is an essential part of our nation-building process. It acts as a corrective and it upholds the sanctity of the law and of natural justice. And it functions as the guardian of the ethical principles underlying the Constitution. This makes everybody connected with the process of justice delivery a nation builder,” he said.
 
“Delay in justice delivery is a pressing concern in our country. Often those who suffer are among the poorest and most underprivileged in our society. We must find mechanisms to ensure quick disposal of cases. We could all consider an approach that makes adjournments the exception in an emergency situation rather than a tactic to prolong court proceedings,” he added.
 
Mr Kovind said some truly great jurists have served as judges in this High Court. The first lady High Court judge of the country, Justice Anna Chandy, became a judge here in 1959. This was exceptional for its times. It was as much as six years later, in 1965, that Judge Elizabeth Lane became the first woman judge of the High Court in Britain.
 
“Therefore, in giving representation to women judges, the Indian judiciary was ahead of many other countries. The first lady judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice M. Fathima Beevi, too was from the Kerala High Court. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan from the Kerala High Court became the Chief Justice of India in 2007.
 
“Who can forget Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, a judge of remarkable humanistic values and the conscience keeper of the legal fraternity in our country? In 1968, he became a judge in this Honourable High Court. Later he left an indelible imprint on our national life while he was at the Honourable Supreme Court. He is remembered and cherished as a role model to this day,” he added.
 
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President Kovind to visit Kerala on October 27-28

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a two-day visit to Kerala on October 27-28, during which he will launch the Technocity project in Thiruvananthapuram tomorrow.
 
An official press release said Mr. Kovind would lay the foundation stone for the first government building in Technocity.
 
Later in the day, he will pay tributes to social reformer Ayyankali by garlanding his statue in Thiruvananthapuram and also attend a civic reception hosted in his honour. 
 
On Saturday, the President will travel to Kochi to grace the valedictory function of the diamond jubilee celebrations of High Court of Kerala, the release added.
 
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Tobacco use high among migrant workers in Kerala's construction sector: Study

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The health of inter-state migrant construction workers – the indispensable arm of Kerala’s dwellings and high-rises – is at risk from tobacco use, finds a new study. 
 
The first-ever study in the state to assess tobacco-induced health burden among inter-state migrant construction workers showed tobacco use among a high 90.25 per cent in this group, leading to a host of painful oral diseases.
 
In what could further accentuate the cancer burden in the state, a high 42.27 per cent reported pre-cancerous oral mucosal lesions in the study that covered 2,163 (1982 male and 181 female) construction workers between the ages of 14 and 55 years.
 
Among tobacco users, 84.74 per cent were males and 5.51 per cent females. Nearly 35 per cent have been using tobacco for 6 to 10 years, according to the study published in a recent edition of the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice.
 
The Departments of Public Health Dentistry, St Gregorios Dental College near here and Kannur Dental College carried out the study in the five municipalities of Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, Perumbavoor, Angamaly and Aluva of Ernakulam district. Trained interviewers used questionnaires to collect data including duration and type of tobacco use besides quit attempts.
 
More than half (52.3 per cent) used smokeless form of tobacco including substances such as pan masala (pan parag) that are banned in Kerala. Among smokers, 15.93 per cent used cigarette and 12.76 per  cent used bidis. Well over a quarter (28.64 per cent) of the migrants covered in the study used both smoking and smokeless forms of tobacco.
 
Another significant factor revealed by the study is that 88.83 per cent never tried to quit tobacco use, while 58.09 per cent were not willing to quit tobacco. The study attributes migration-related stress to the high tobacco use among the migrants.
 
Dr Anzil KS Ali, Senior Lecturer, St Gregorios and the first author of the study said, “The inter-state migrant workers who play a major role in our construction sector are victims of occupations involving hard labour, poverty, and low literacy coupled with ignorance. Targeted behaviour change communication in migrants’ native languages is the need of the hour.”
 
“Our study has found that youngsters in the age group of 25-34 had a penchant for khaini chewing,” added Dr Anzil while appealing for the strict enforcement of the ban on smokeless tobacco products in the State.
 
As per recent figures, there are four million migrant labourers in the state.
 
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India’s seafood export soars to 2,51,735 MT worth Rs 9,066 crore in Q1

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Spurred by soaring demand for its frozen shrimp and frozen squid in international markets, India’s marine products industry exported 2,51,735 MT of seafood valued at $ 1.42 billion (Rs 9,066.06 crore) in  the first quarter (Q1) of 2017-18, ended June, as against 2,01,223 MT and $ 1.17 billion dollars, respectively, a year earlier.
 
The United States and South East Asia retained their position as the major importers of India’s seafood, followed by the European Union (EU) and Japan, while the demand from China saw a healthy surge during the period, a press release from the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) said.
 
The release said frozen shrimp continued to be the top export item of marine products basket, accounting for a share of 50.66% in quantity and 74.90% of the total earnings in dollar terms. Shrimp exports increased by 20.87% in terms of quantity and 21.64% in dollar terms.
 
Frozen squid was the second largest export item, accounting for 7.82% in quantity and 5.81% in dollar earnings, registering a growth of 40.25% in dollar terms.
 
Besides frozen shrimp and frozen squid, India’s other major seafood product was frozen fish, which recorded a growth of 24.96 per cent, 17.55 per cent and 21.75 per cent in terms of quantity, rupee value and dollar earnings, respectively.
 
 “Healthy harvests of shrimp, drastic reduction in the rejection rate by the EU countries, sustained measures to ensure quality and improved infrastructure facilities for production of value added products were chiefly responsible for India’s surge seafood exports,” said Dr. A Jayathilak, Chairman, MPEDA. “What is satisfying is that growth in exports was achieved in the face of continued uncertainties in the global seafood trade.”
 
The USA imported 54,344 MT of Indian seafood worth $ 499.28 million, accounting for a share of 35.05% in dollar terms, with exports to that country registering a growth of 39.56%, 33.66% and 38.93% in terms of quantity, value in rupees and US dollars, respectively.
 
South East Asia continued to be the second largest destination of India’s marine products, with a share of 31.26% in dollar terms, followed by the EU (14.70%), Japan (6.68%), the Middle East (3.47%), China (3.06%) and Other countries (5.79%). Overall, exports to South East Asia increased by 50.37% in quantity, 28.84% in rupee value and 33.87% in dollar earnings.
 
The EU continued to be the third largest destination for Indian marine products with a share of 15.23% in quantity. Frozen shrimp was the major item of exports, accounting for a share of 38.85% in quantity and 53.17% in dollar earnings out of the total exports to the EU.
 
Japan, the fourth largest destination for Indian seafood, accounted for 6.68% in earnings and 7.26% in quantity terms. Frozen shrimp continued to be the major item of exports to Japan with a share of 39.49% in quantity and 73.32% in US dollar value out of the total exports to that country.
 
The overall export of shrimp during the first quarter of the current fiscal was pegged at 1, 27,521 MT worth $ 1066.97 million. USA was the largest import market for frozen shrimp (50,630 MT), followed by the South East Asia (41,934 MT), EU (14,893 MT), Japan (7,222 MT), the Middle East (3,753 MT), China (2,804 MT) and other countries (6,285 MT).
 
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The export of Vannamei shrimp, a major seafood delicacy, improved from 82,193 MT to 92,341 MT in April-June 2017, registering a growth of 12.35%in quantity. In value terms, 51% of total Vannamei shrimp was exported to USA, followed by 25.99% to the South East Asian countries, 9.87% to the EU, 4.26% to Japan, 2.23% to the Middle East, 1.58% to China and 5.08% to other countries.
 
Japan was the major market for Black Tiger shrimp with a share of 49.12% in value terms, followed by South East Asia (23.84%) and USA (17.77%).
 
Frozen shrimp continued to be the principal export item to USA with a share of 95.83% in dollar terms while Vannamei shrimp to that country showed an increase of 35.20% in quantity and 36.44% in dollar terms.
 
As for exports to South East Asian markets, Vietnam was the biggest importer with a share of 84.45% in dollar terms, followed by Thailand (7.33%), Taiwan (3.13%), Malaysia (2.01%), Singapore (1.76%) and South Korea (1.11%). Vietnam alone imported 69,988 MT of Indian seafood, the quantity being much more than that of any other individual markets like the US, Japan or China.
 
Export of frozen cuttlefish showed an increase in quantity terms, rupee value and dollar terms by 5.07%, 20.84% and 25.51%, respectively.
 
Indian ports handled a total marine cargo of 2,51,735 tons worth Rs 9066.06 crore (1424.46 million dollars) in the first quarter of FY 2017-18 as compared to 2,01,223 tons worth Rs 7699.61 crore (1166.59 million dollars) in the corresponding period  of the previous fiscal.
 
Vizag, which handled marine cargo of 43,315 tons worth Rs 2,481.03 crore, was the leading port, followed by Krishnapatnam (19,917 tons, Rs 1096.33 crore), Kochi (29,630 tons, Rs 1,027.39 crore), Kolkata (21,433 tons, Rs 993.74 crore), JNP (37,011 tons, Rs 971.77 crore), Pipavav (49,334 tons, Rs 831.83 crore), Tuticorin (10,986 tons, Rs 582.50 crore), and Chennai (11,300 tons, Rs 516.09 crore), the release added.
 
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Supporting young entrepreneurs will be top priority for Kerala government: Vijayan

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Saturday  that his government would focus more strongly on promoting young and budding entrepreneurs with policies and all other necessary support.
 
Interacting with students at the IEDC Summit 2017, billed as India's largest such event for young student entrepreneurs, he encouraged them to set their sights on innovation and excellence.
 
“The students have exhibited a number of prototypes as part of the event that proves the ability of these youngsters. I am sure that you can stretch beyond these. The state government has always been a staunch supporter of the start-up ecosystem and will give you full-fledged support henceforth,” he said.
 
The Chief Minister also launched a startup venture, Traffitizer – a novel solution to help ambulances stuck in traffic. Traffitizer- Emergency Response System (T-ERS) is a centralized Internet of Things (IoT) based system, with artificial intelligence at different levels, that enables automatic switching of traffic lights to green for ambulances to pass through.
 
Kochi City Police Commissioner M P Dinesh also spoke on the occasion. “The product would help the police to manage emergency situations,” he said.
 
Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Union Telecom Secretary, appreciated the efforts of the state government and the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in nurturing the startup ecosystem in the state.
 
“I am overwhelmed when I see youngsters like six-year-old Saarang Sumesh who has developed a humanoid that can fire bullets. India is full of challenges and when I look at the crowd at IEDC 2017, I am sure that these youngsters will convert those challenges to opportunities,” she said.
 
Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar said a number of schemes in the pipeline for supporting the startup ecosystem. “Kerala is the first state to have startups in colleges and the only state which provides incubation and grounding facility for budding student entrepreneurs,” he said.
 
He lauded KSUM for working towards promoting entrepreneurship among youth on behalf of the state. He also released the KSUM status report during the event.
 
The event saw participation from around 200 Innovation Entrepreneurship Development Centres (IEDCs) – small incubators set up in engineering, technical, management and arts and science colleges – to help students pursue innovative ideas and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
 
Kerala Technical University Vice-Chancellor Kuncheria P Issac,  in his keynote address, highlighted the availability of opportunities to recreate the Silicon Valley in Kerala.
 
“The KTU has been introducing a number of schemes to promote entrepreneurship. We are even set to introduce a minor degree in entrepreneurship, which is probably the first of its kind in the country. There is a favourable eco-system to recreate the Silicon Valley here in Kerala,” he said.
 
KSUM CEO Saji Gopinath presented the IEDC report. He noted that KSUM is on the path of extending the IEDC programme to 500 colleges in the coming year.
 
“IEDC’s major role is to evangelize students, promote innovations and incubate the ones with potential. However, extending the service, we also seek students to support the innovators who have not attended college education,” he said. 
 
Mr. Scott O’Brien, CEO and co-founder Humense, a Sydney-based company specializing in Virtual (VR), Mixed (MR) and Augmented Reality (AR), stressed the need for start-ups to move to scale-ups for progress. "The first thing you need to possess is knowledge about the industry and later learn new things,” he said.
 
Google India Vice-President Rajan Anandan said that India is witnessing a revolutionary change in the digital platform.
 
“Gone are those days, when India lagged behind in technology. India’s start-up companies are making big revolutions across the world,” said Mr. Anandan.
 
Kerala witnessed its first ‘Bitcoin Airdrop’, joining in a worldwide initiative that sees cities, Fintech organisations and educational institutions in 11 regions mine and distribute free bitcoins to grow their local digital currency communities. KSUM also signed different agreements with investors as part of the event. 
 
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Crowdfunding campaign launched to save 1,000 years old theatre art in Kerala

Guru Margi Madhu Chakyar (R) and his son Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar help Koodiyattam student Nepathya Yadukrishnan get ready for a performance
Guru Margi Madhu Chakyar (R) and his son Nepathya Sreehari Chakyar help Koodiyattam student Nepathya Yadukrishnan get ready for a performance
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help protect one of the world’s oldest known theatre art forms from dying out for want of patronage and interest in the modern world.
 
The Nepathya Centre for Koodiyattam in Kerala is being supported by Sahapedia, the online encyclopedia of Indian arts and culture, in its goal to raise Rs 20 lakh via the crowdfunding platform BitGiving, to train a new generation of artistes in what constitutes the only surviving form of ancient Sanskrit theatre in the world.
 
Koodiyattam, a performance art that draws on the plays of Sanskrit dramatists of antiquity, is believed to have followed an unbroken tradition for more than 1,000 years in the state of Kerala. 
 
A highly stylized art form, Koodiyattam (Kutiyattam) evolved its unique theatre grammar over centuries with its own complex conventions, gestures and expressions, which require many years of arduous training to master.
 
Once limited to temples, Koodiyattam emerged on to performance stages and international audiences in the 1950s, thanks to the efforts of celebrated gurus such as Mani Madhava Chakyar, Painkulam Rama Chakyar and Ammannur Madhava Chakyar.
 
Today there are only around 50 practitioners of this art form and institutions such as Kalamandalam, Margi and Ammannur Gurukulam in Kerala impart training in Koodiyattam.
 
Nepathya, a school based in Moozhikulam in Thrissur district, is focused exclusively on Koodiyattam and is trying to preserve the most difficult of its traditional repertoires which need more time to master and which are not as popular as others because of their scholarly content. A not-for-profit institution, it was started 15 years ago to train a new generation of actors exclusively in Kutiyattam.
 
Nepathya’s founder and guru Margi Madhu says the lack of public awareness is one of the reasons for poor financial support and dearth of young artistes keen to learn. The crowdfunding drive is also doubling up as an awareness campaign.
 
“Nepathya has been struggling to raise funds for the past 12 years,” he says. “Currently, we are at risk of losing our trained artistes. Training a new student takes almost a decade and each time an artiste leaves, we go back to square one. We only have three senior students (and two young ones) and four drummers left because of lack of funding.”
 
These senior students — Rahul Gopinath, Yadhukrishnan K R and Vishnuprasad K R — aged around 20, have been training at Nepathya since the age of seven. They have undergone the preliminary stages of training and are now ready for the rigours of the more scholarly repertoires.
 
Margi Madhu says the funds raised on BitGiving will support the training of the three in Anguliyankam, the sixth act of the play 9th Century play Ascharyachudamani (The Wondrous Crest Jewel) by Saktibhadra.
 
It is an extremely difficult sequence to learn, needing up to three years of comprehensive study of the manuscripts, choreographic texts, and acting principles; and takes a full month to perform on stage. There are only three or four artistes in Koodiyattam today who can perform it in its entirety and only one or two artists who know its drumming patterns.
 
Nepathya will use the funds to enable its student artistes and drummers to dedicate more of their time and efforts to learning.
 
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Rahul, Yadhukrishnan and Vishnugopal are about to graduate from engineering colleges and under pressure to take up full-time jobs to earn a living. Margi Madhu says their families are supportive, but Koodiyattam will not sustain them unless it finds both aficionados and patronage.
 
“The real depth of the art lies in its ability to elevate the minds of the viewers. To do that the artistes themselves have to experience the pleasure of the art, and explore the depths of the performances,” he adds.  “They cannot do so if they are burdened by the prospect of looking for paying jobs, which is why we need funds to support them.”
 
UNESCO has declared Koodiyattam as a ‘Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity’.
 
“It would be a tragedy and a shame if an art form that has survived for a thousand years dies on our watch,” says Dr. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, the Executive Director of Sahapedia, “We are wholly behind Nepathya’s efforts to save and popularize this ancient art. Koodiyattam is intimately connected to the cultural history of Kerala and the great traditions of Sanskrit literature, we have to preserve it whichever way we can. Supporting Nepathya is one step in that direction for all of us.”
 
The architect of the crowdfunding campaign, Neha Paliwal, Sahapedia’s Director, Projects says the campaign, which was launched on at the end of July and will run for two months, has so far raised Rs 1.02 lakh from ten patrons. “Such campaigns offer platforms for public participation in culture conservation efforts. It will also, hopefully, enable more people to see the beauty and value of art forms such as Koodiyattam that have historically been accessible to smaller communities.”
 
She said Sahapedia will use both its online portal as well as social media and other digital platforms to introduce Koodiyattam to a wider audience.          
 
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Adoption of Codex standards for pepper, cumin, thyme major victory for India: Spices Board

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The Spices Board has said that the decision of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), the international food standards-setting body jointly set up by the FAO and the WHO, to adopt three Codex standards for pepper, cumin and thyme, at its just concluded meeting in Geneva, is a recognition of India’s stellar role to benchmark and harmonise global spices trade.
 
The decision could also herald the entry of more spices and herbs in the list for universal trading of safe and quality spices in various countries, Spices Board Chairman A. Jayathilak said.
 
Dr. Jayathilak, who convened a meeting of the officials and delegates involved with the work and functioning of the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) at Bolgatty Palace here yesterday, said the historic decision of the CAC signalled the fact that spices had been included for the first time as commodities having universal standards.
 
“This feat was achieved after India’s relentless efforts to set up the CCSCH, which conducted its three sessions at Kochi (2014), Goa (2015) and Chennai (2017) to create a common standardization process for global spices trade,” he noted.   
 
Lauding the efforts of the officials and delegates for this major recognition of India’s initiatives to forge a universal agreement on identifying quality spices in various countries, Dr. Jayathilak said the Codex standards for black, white and green pepper, cumin and thyme were adopted by consensus with an overwhelming support from the member-countries of the CAC.
 
Dr. Jayathilak countered the arguments of those delegations that were not in favour of the final adoption of these standards by presenting India’s stand before the CAC.
 
In the meeting at Kochi, he briefly traced the history of the CCSCH committee, which was the first new committee to be approved by Codex in the past 25 years, and outlined the strategic moves that convinced the member-countries to vote for approval of the new committee. 
 
“This triumph of CCSCH is the harbinger of a lot of hard work ahead. The number of spices and culinary herbs is very large – although only 109 spices are notified in the ISO list, their actual number, as used in various countries, would be much higher,” he said.
 
It was in 2013 that the need for Codex standards for spices and herbs became a matter of concern, owing to the increased level of issues in spice trade. At that time, there was no Codex committee exclusively for spices and culinary herbs. Thus, the first step in development of Codex standards was the establishment of a dedicated Codex committee for spices and herbs.
 
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With the approval of the Central government, Spices Board India submitted to CAC a proposal for such an exclusive committee for spices and culinary herbs. After completing the background work, it sent delegates to a series of Codex committee meetings all over the world, making a forceful plea for the need for a committee on spices and herbs.
 
The 36th session of CAC, which met in Rome from July 1-5, 2013, deliberated on this proposal from India, and later approved it with unanimous support of the member-countries. It heralded the creation of CCSCH, with India as the host country and Spices Board as the Secretariat. This was the first new Codex commodity committee to be approved in the past 25 years.
 
Historically, the developed countries, being the major importers of spices, have always insisted on unreasonably strict standards, which have had adverse effects on spice trade. This is an issue that the Codex, jointly formed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), seeks to address.
 
Spices Board India, the flagship organization of the Central Government for export and promotion of spices from the country, has always been concerned about this aspect, and hence has taken keen interest in harmonizing the disparate standards for spices which exist all over the world, a press release from the Board added.
 
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CCI holds Container Trailer Owners Coordination Committee in Kerala guilty of anti-competitive conduct

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The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found the Container Trailer Owners Coordination Committee (CTOCC) and its four participating associations -- Cochin Container Carrier Owners Welfare Association (CCCOWA), Vallarpadam Trailer Owners Association (VTOA), Kerala Container Carrier Owners Association (KCCOA) and Island Container Carrier Owners Association (ICCOA) -- to be in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002.
 
In a reference filed by the Cochin Port Trust, it was brought to the notice of the Commission that these associations, under the garb of ‘Turn System’, have indulged in unilateral fixation of prices, an official press release said.
 
It was alleged that, during the Turn System, the users and container trailers were obliged to book services only through this centrally controlled system and that CTOCC was restraining outside transporters from lifting the containers which was impeding the ability of the users to hire trailers of their choice.
 
Following a detailed investigation by its Director General (DG), the Commission has found that CTOCC, along with the participating associations (CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOA), has resorted to price fixing under the garb of the Turn System, the release said.
 
"In terms of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1) of the Act, the presumption arose against the said arrangement leading to AAEC, which was not satisfactorily rebutted by these associations, despite being given ample opportunity. Thus, the Commission held them to be in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(a) read with Section 3(1) of the Act. However, on the allegation pertaining to limiting and restricting the provision of services under Section 3(3)(b) read with Section 3(1) of the Act, the Commission found the evidence to be insufficient to hold CTOCC or any of its participating association responsible.
 
"Through this Order, the Commission has unequivocally clarified that though forming an association for furthering the legitimate trade activities does not fall foul of the Act, transgressing the legitimate boundaries and indulging in anti-competitive activities does. When the trade associations are used as a platform to promote anti-competitive ends, it becomes necessary for the Commission to intervene, for penalising the anti-competitive conduct. 
 
"Further, the Commission also mentioned in its order that though ‘Turn System’ may have efficiency justification in a particular trade, no such efficiency or redeeming virtue were shown by CTOCC or any of its sub-association in the present case.
 
"The Commission has thus held CTOCC, CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOAto be in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(3)(a) read with 3(1) of the Act. Further, the Commission has also found 10 of office bearers of CTOCC, CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOA, responsible under Section 48 of the Act, on account of the positions of responsibility held by them in these associations during the period of contravention.
 
"Accordingly, CTOCC, CCCOWA, KCCOWA, ICCOA and VTOA and their office bearers have been directed to desist from indulging in the anti-competitive conduct found to be in contravention of the provisions of the Act. But considering certain mitigating factors, the Commission decided not to impose any monetary penalty on any of the parties," the release added.
 
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GAIL commences construction work in Kerala stretch of KKMBPL Project

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The public sector GAIL (India) Limited today said it had started construction work on the Kerala stretch of the Rs. 3,263 crore Kochi – Koottanad – Mangaluru-Bengaluru Pipeline project after some initial hurdles.
 
The pipeline will form part of the National Gas Grid and it will go a long way in fulfilling the vision of the Government of India towards building a gas-based economy, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said the construction activities are under full swing and will gain new momentum with the award of contracts for pipeline laying works of the remainning section of 111 km falling in Malappuram, Kannur and Kasargod districts at a cost of approximately Rs 160 crore. 
 
As a part of Phase-II of the project, the pipeline section from Kochi-Koottanad (in Kerala) to Mangaluru (in Karnataka) (438 km) is being executed. 
 
"With today’s award of contracts, the entire stretch of 438 km Kochi – Koottanad – Mangaluru Pipeline will be in construction phase," the release said.
 
Mr. B C Tripathi, Chairman and Managing Director, GAIL said,  “Looking into the substantial progress in the laying works already awarded with the help of State Government in providing statutory clearances and permissions and Right of way, GAIL is commencing laying activities in the  remaining 111 kms stretch of the pipeline. The  project activities in 100%  of the pipe length will gather full momentum after the monsoon. With the continued support of the State Government and the people at large, GAIL is confident of completing the entire Kochi – Koottanad – Mangaluru Pipeline by December 2018.”
 
The release said the project would give a major economic boost to Kerala by way of facilitating environment-friendly industrial development. In Phase-I of the project, around 41 km pipeline had already been commissioned during 2013 to transport natural gas from Kochi LNG Terminal.
 
Currently around 2.6 MMSCMD of gas is being supplied to various consumers in and around Kochi city, the release added.
 
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Kerala NCP president Uzhavoor Vijayan passes away

Uzhavoor Vijayan
Uzhavoor Vijayan
Mr. Uzhavoor Vijayan, the president of the Kerala unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), passed away at a private hospital here today after a brief illness.
 
He was 60. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
 
According to sources, Mr. Vijayan had been admitted to the hospital on July 11 for treatment of liver-related ailments. His condition took a turn for the worse early today and he breathed his last around 7 am, they said.
 
His body will be taken to Kottayam, where it will be kept at the Police Ground for people to pay homage. The funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at Uzhavoor.
 
Mr. Vijayan who entered politics through the Kerala Students' Union (KSU), the students' wing of the Congress, was admired for his oratory and caustic humour.
 
He had served as the chairman of the Kerala State Handicapped Persons' Welfare Corporation and Secretary of the State Pollution Control Board.
 
He had lost to Congress (M) chairman K. M. Mani from the Pala constituency in the 2001 assembly polls -- the only election he contested. Later, he left the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and joined the Congress (S).
 
Mr. Vijayan had also appeared in a couple of movies and television serials.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep moves Kerala HC for bail in actress abduction case

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested last Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, today filed a bail application before the Kerala High Court, which said it would take it up for hearing on Thursday.
 
On Saturday, Dileep, 48, had been denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.
 
The actor had been initially sent to two weeks in judicial custody but last Wednesday the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly had remanded him to two days in police custody. On Friday, the police custody was extended till 5 pm on Saturday, by when the court said it would also rule on his bail application.
 
The special prosecutor objected to the bail application, saying that if he is given bail the actor could influence and intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence. 
 
The court turned down his bail plea, saying, among other things, that the crime he had been accused of was very serious. After being sent to judicial custody till July 25, he was taken back to the Aluva sub-jail here.
 
Dileep's counsel K. Ramkumar pleaded for an urgent hearing on the bail application, but the High Court rejected the plea and set Thursday for hearing the matter. Mr. Ramkumar said his client had been framed in the case. The prosecution said it would oppose the bail application and wanted time to make its response.
 
The abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While he was in their custody last week, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
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There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Dileep and the actress had acted in several movies together and they had formed a popular screen pair before they fell apart. 
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur and used to wield considerable influence in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Meanwhile, media reports said today that the police investigation team had found a memory card which reportedly contained pictures of the actress taken by her tormentors. The memory card was got from Raju Joseph, the junior of lawyer Pratheesh Chacko, who the police are trying to trace for questioning. The card did not have the images or videos, and the police are now trying to ascertain if they had been erased, the reports added.
 
The police also recorded the statements of two MLAs -- Mukesh, a well-known actor, and Anwar Sadath, who is said to be close to Dileep -- in Thiruvananthapuram today. Pulsar Suni had been employed as Mukesh's driver for some time in the past. 
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep denied bail, sent to judicial custody till July 25 in actress abduction case

Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, was today denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charges of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and sexual harassment of a popular young actress, was today denied bail by a local court and sent back to judicial custody till July 25.
 
Dileep, 48, had been initially sent to two weeks in judicial custody but on Wednesday the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly had remanded him to two days in police custody. 
 
Yesterday, the police custody was extended till 5 pm today, by when the court said it would also rule on his bail application.
 
The special prosecutor objected to the bail application, saying that if he is given bail the actor could influence and intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence.
 
 After his bail plea was turned down and he was sent to judicial custody till July 25, he was taken back to the Aluva sub-jail here.
 
The actor's lawyers said they would now move the High Court here on Monday for bail.
 
The abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
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The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While seeking extension of the police remand for Dileep, the police told the court today that the mobile telephone, which was used to take pictures of the actress by her tormentors, was probably now with the actor.
 
They said in the report that they suspect the telephone was handed over to the actor by Pratheesh Chacko, a lawyer who represented Suni initially. The report also said that Suni later tried to blackmail Dileep because he had not got the amount promised to him.
 
While he was in their custody, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Dileep and the actress had acted in several movies together and they had formed a popular screen pair before they fell apart. 
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur and used to wield considerable influence in the Malayalam film industry.
 
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Actor Dileep's police custody extended by a day in actress abduction case

A local court in Kochi on Friday extended the police custody of top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress, till 5 pm on Saturday.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
A local court today extended the police custody of top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress, till 5 pm tomorrow.
 
Dileep, who had been sent to two days in police custody on Wednesday, was produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Angamaly this morning, where the police sought his custody for one more day to complete the gathering of evidence.
 
The police also opposed a bail application moved on behalf of Dileep, arguing that if he is released on bail he could influence and intimidate witnesses in the case.
 
The court will pronounce its ruling on Dileep's bail plea in the afternoon tomorrow and asked the police to bring him to court at that time.
 
The sensational abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17 from Thrissur to Kochi.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil Kumar, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
While seeking extension of the police remand for Dileep, the police told the court today that the mobile telephone, which was used to take pictures of the actress by her tormentors, was probably now with the actor.
 
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They said in the report that they suspect the telephone was handed over to the actor by Pratheesh Chacko, a lawyer who represented Suni initially. The report also said that Suni later tried to blackmail Dileep because he had not got the amount promised to him.
 
Over the past two days, the police had taken Dileep, 48, to various places in Kochi and Thrissur in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
There were allegations soon after the incident that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Police continue to grill actor Dileep in actress abduction case, survivor breaks silence

Kerala Police on Thursday continued to grill top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress, even as the survivor broke her silence in the matter.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Kerala Police today continued to grill top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested on Monday on charge of conspiracy in the sensational February 17 abduction and harassment of a popular young actress even as the survivor broke her silence in the matter.
 
The 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu films, said in a statement that she was as shocked as everyone else by the turn of events in the case and wanted the truth to come out expeditiously.
 
Noting that Dileep, with him she formed a popular pair in many movies before they fell apart, had claimed that he had been framed in the case, she said the need of the hour was that the truth should come out.
 
"If he is innocent, it should come out quickly and if he is not, even then the truth should come out fast. All are equal before law,” she said.
 
The actress said she was issuing the written statement because she was not in the right frame of mind to appear before television cameras and make an oral statement.
 
She said she used to share a cordial relationship with Dileep but, for some reason, it got strained.
 
She denied media reports which suggested that they had real estate dealings. "The truth is that there have been no such deals with him at all," she asserted.
 
She also clarified that she does not have a Facebook page or a Twitter handle and posts appearing in her name on these and other social media websites were fake.
 
“My sincere wish is no innocent person should be punished and anyone who has committed a crime should not be allowed to escape,” she added.
 
She also said that she had not named anyone in her statements to the police. "If the arrested are indeed guilty, they need to be punished. However, if they are innocent, I wish them to see them come out free," she said.
 
Meanwhile, Dileep, 48, who was sent to two days in police custody by a local court yesterday, was taken to various spots in Thrissur and elsewhere for the second day today by the police in an effort to trace the crime trail.
 
Among other places, he was taken to two hotels in Thrissur, where he allegedly hatched the conspiracy with main accused Sunil Kumar alias Pulsar Suni, and to the Tennis Club in the town, the shooting location of one of his latest films, where a photograph taken by a fan showed the main accused at a distance in the background, indicating that the two were present at the same place.
 
Wherever he was taken, large crowds of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the actor and many of them booed him. At some places, Dileep, dressed in a white shirt and a pair of blue jeans, waved out to the crowd. He, however, did not respond to media queries.
 
Yesterday, the police had taken Dileep to various places here and in Thodupuzha near here for gathering evidence.
 
Meanwhile, former Indian  cricketer S. Sreesanth came out in support of the actor today, saying it was wrong to hold anyone guilty till the crime was proven in a court, recalling that he and his family had gone through a similar experience when he was charged with match-fixing in IPL cricket matches some years ago.
 
Dileep's bail application will come up for further hearing in court tomorrow. His lawyer had moved the application yesterday, but the prosecution is yet to submit its response.
 
In a related development, the Kalamassery police here today recorded the statement of a young actor, Aju Varghese, in a case related to his revealing the name of the actress in a post on social media. Aju had later apologised for the "mistake".
 
Meanwhile, Dileep's brother Anoop today alleged that the actor was the victim of a huge conspiracy to trap him in the case.
 
"My brother has been trapped in the case. The conspiracy is against him. Like in the movies, a wonderful script has been written and perfectly executed," he told journalists. 
 
Anoop said his brother would come out unblemished from the case and make a comeback in films.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the abduction and assault.
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
On Monday, the police again questioned Dileep for several hours before formally placing him under arrest that evening.
 
Some days ago, a letter allegedly written from jail by Pulsar Suni seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni, a matter that the police are investigating separately.
 
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There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The sensational abduction and harassment of the actress, which sent shock waves throughout Kerala and the entire film industry in India, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep sent to two days in police custody in actress abduction case

Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested in Kochi on Monday on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to two days in judicial custody by a local court on Wednesday.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested here on Monday evening on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to two days in judicial custody by a local court today.
 
Dileep, 48, who was sent to 14 days in judicial custody yesterday, was produced in the chamber of the Judicial Magistrate at Angamaly where the prosecution sought his police custody for three days, arguing that he was needed to complete the investigations in the case that had sent shock waves throughout Kerala and, in fact, the entire film industry in India.
 
After hearing both sides, the court granted the police custody of the actor for two days.
 
The court also heard a bail application moved on behalf of the actor, with his advocate arguing that the police had no evidence against him and had arrested him merely on suspicion.
 
The court said it would rule on the application on July 14, when the police custody of the actor would end, after hearing the prosecution's response to the defence arguments.
 
Later, Dileep was taken to the Police Club at Aluva for questioning. Sources said the police might also take the actor to various places related to the case for gathering more evidence. 
 
Yesterday, the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) had expelled Dileep from its primary membership, a day after he was arrested in the case.
 
Police had made elaborate security arrangements at the court as well as at the Aluva sub-jail, where Dileep spent the night, in view of the large crowds that had gathered outside for a glimpse of the actor. Like yesterday, many in the crowd booed him today.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the abduction and assault.
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
On Monday, the police again questioned Dileep for several hours before formally placing him under arrest that evening.
 
Some days ago, a letter allegedly written from jail by Pulsar Suni, the main accused in the case, seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni, a matter that the police are investigating separately.
 
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There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The sensational abduction and harassment of the 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, took place when she was travelling alone in a car with the driver late in the evening of February 17.
 
The car was waylaid by a group of about three persons in a van near Athani in Angamaly near here. The three men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
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Malayalam actor Dileep sent to 14 days in judicial custody in actress abduction case

Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested in Kochi on Monday evening on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to 14 days in judicial custody early Tuesday morning.

Malayalam film actor Dileep
Malayalam film actor Dileep
Top Malayalam film actor Dileep, who was arrested here yesterday evening on conspiracy charges in the case related to the abduction and harassment of a popular actress while she was on her way from Thrissur to Kochi on February 17, was remanded to 14 days in judicial custody early this morning.
 
Dileep, 48, who was questioned at the Police Club in Aluva for several hours after his formal arrest, was produced before a magistrate early this morning.
 
"I am not scared of anyone because I have not committed any crime," the popular actor told journalists as he was being taken to the magistrate's residence.
 
Police had made elaborate security arrangements outside the magistrate's residence as a large number of people had gathered there. The crowd booed the actor as he came out of the magistrate's residence and taken to the sub-jail at Aluva.
 
The police has sought police custody of Dileep, while the actor has filed a bail application. Both pleas are expected to be heard by the court tomorrow, official sources said.
 
Last week, the police had questioned Dileep and his friend and film director Nadirshah for 13 hours in connection with the incident after their names cropped up during the probe into the abduction and assault.
 
Subsequently, police had searched the premises of a business owned by  his wife and well-known actress Kavya Madhavan.
 
Sources said the police questioned Dileep for several hours during the day yesterday before being formally placed under arrest in the evening. He was taken to the Police Club at Aluva in a car around 7 pm yesterday where the questioning continued.
 
Late yesterday evening, Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behera confirmed to journalists in Thiruvananthapuram that Dileep had been placed under arrest. He also made it clear that no other arrests had been made in the case yesterday though there were reports that Nadirshah and some others were being questioned.
 
He said Dileep had been arrested on the basis of evidence gathered by the police in its investigations so far and also to take the investigation forward. "It is a part of the process of investigation and a part of the process of collecting more evidence," he said.
 
Some days ago, a letter allegedly written from jail by Pulsar Suni, the main accused in the case, seeking money from Dileep had come to light. Some telephone calls made by Suni  from jail were also traced to people close to the actor. According to the sources, Suni had also been in touch with Nadirshah over the telephone from prison. 
 
Later, Dileep had complained to the police that he was being blackmailed by Suni, a matter that the police are investigating separately.
 
There were allegations that Dileep was part of the conspiracy to attack the actress in view of a personal enmity between the two. The actor, however, has maintained all along that he was not linked in any way to the attack. He had also maintained that he did not know Suni, but later photographs surfaced in which the main accused was seen at the location of a Dileep movie.
 
The Association of Malayalam Movies Artists (AMMA) had come out in support of the beleaguered actor -- a stance that has attracted a lot of criticism for the organisation.
 
The abduction and harassment of the 30-year-old actress, who has also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies, had sent shockwaves through Kerala and the entire film industry in India.
 
Pulsar Suni
Pulsar Suni
The actress, who was travelling alone with the driver of the car late in the evening of that day, was waylaid by a group of about three persons and harassed for about two hours before they fled. The car was intercepted by a van carrying the three men near Athani in Angamaly near here.
 
The three men then forced their way into her car and drove around for about two hours, during which they allegedly harassed her and also took photographs and a video of her, sources said. They finally stopped at at Padamugal, near Kakkanad, in Kochi and fled in another car.
 
The actress then managed to reach the residence of a well-known film director in Kakkanad, for whose film she had been shooting. The director informed the police, who reached his residence soon after and recorded the actress' statement.
 
The actress is understood to have told the police that one of the men was her former driver, Sunil, also known as Pulsar Suni because of a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle he owned.
 
Suni was arrested by the police in dramatic circumstances from the premises of the additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) here on February 23. He and his alleged accomplice Vijeesh were arrrested when they managed to evade the policemen posted around the complex and sneak into the court to surrender before a magistrate.
 
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Born as Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan Pillai on October 27, 1968, Dileep had over the past few years acquired an enviable position in the Malayalam film industry.
 
Dileep, who started out in movies as an assistant director in 1991 after stints as a mimicry artiste and in comedy shows on television, has a huge fan following, especially because of his comedy roles in several Malayalam movies. In all, he has appeared in more than 130 films so far. He is also a film producer and entrepreneur.
 
Demonstrations against Dileep were held at several places after news of his arrest spread. Apart from the large numbers of people who gathered outside the Aluva Police Club, where he  was questioned, and some groups raised slogans against him. They also wanted action against AMMA President and well-known actor Innocent, who is a Member of Parliament, and actor Mukesh, who is now an MLA.
 
Protesters also staged demonstrations outside a restaurant owned by the actor in Kochi. A branch of the restaurant in Kozhikode was closed down as a preventive measure and Yuva Morcha members burnt the actor in effigy in that town.
 
Youth Congress activists also marched towards cinemas owned by Dileep, but were dispersed by the police.
 
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