People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 48

December 02, 2012



Idukki observes Hartal

Over CPI(M) Leaders Arrest

N S Sajith


THE people of Idukki, a high range district of central Kerala, wholeheartedly participated in a dawn to dusk hartal on November 22 protesting against the politically motivated arrest of M M Mani, former district secretary of CPI(M) in connection with a speech regarding the death of Congress workers in the past. 


M M Mani, a senior leader of the Party who led various struggles of plantation labourers and agricultural workers in the district, was arrested by the police team in the wee hours of November 21 after surrounding his home in Kunchithanni in Idukki district. The arrest was made without notice or arrest warrant. The police produced Mani before the Nedumkandam first class magistrate and the court remanded him to judicial custody in Peermedu sub jail for 14 days. 


The police had not even allowed Mani to take bath while they were arresting him. The high-handed behaviour of the police sparked protests all over the state. The dawn to dusk hartal in the district was complete. All vehicles were off the roads. The offices and plantations also wore deserted look with workers registering their protest.




The UDF governments vicious plan to promote a bogus organisation called Janashree received a setback as the union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh made it clear that the central funds would be given to Kudumbashree, an organisation which concentrates on poverty eradication and women empowerment in the state.


The union minister clarified this after Kerala rural development minister K C Joseph lashed out at him on centres hostile attitude towards Janashree, an organisation floated by Congress leader M M Hassan, to weaken Kudambashree and grab the central funds for poverty eradication and women empowerment.


In a press conference at Kannur, K C Joseph strongly opposed Jairam Rameshs stand that it would be difficult for the centre to make available funds for any agency other than Kudumbashree, which has a successful track record over the years as the states nodal agency for National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) programme. Alleging that Jairam Ramesh did not take into account the states views on this matter, Joseph said, the state government is not an unlawful tenant in the residences of the central ministers.    Jairam Ramesh had totally ignored the states views on the matter and this was not acceptable, said Joseph, who also belongs to the Congress.


During his visit to Thiruvananthapuram, Jairam Ramesh, reiterated his firm stand that there was no question of the centre permitting replacement of Kudumbashree Poverty Eradication Mission by any other agency. His strong support to Kudumbashree has disappointed sections in the state Congress who have been complaining that Kudumbashree has been hijacked by the CPI(M).


While reacting in New Delhi to the allegations made by Joseph, Jairam Ramesh asserted that the centres funds will be made available to only Kudumbashree. He said the centres policies would not be formulated on the basis of the whims and fancies of individuals. Many states like Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka came forward to make Kudumbashree as their model. This agency represents the whole womanhood of Kerala. For central programmes, the nodal agency is Kudumbashree. There is no change in this position. I have talked to chief minister Oommen Chandy and union defense minister A K Antony in this regard. They too do not want to weaken Kudumbashree, said Jairam Ramesh.




The Central Food Research Centre has confirmed that the appam, which is distributed as part of prasadam to piligrims visiting the well known Sabarimala temple, contains deadly poison and may cause serious health problems.


The report was submitted to the high court. The institute has made a detailed study on the fungal infected appam which created huge controversy in the state as well as panic among the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims. Lakhs of appam have been destroyed after the panic erupted.


The department of health has taken the sample of fungal infected appam and given to the Central Food Research Centre for testing. The study report of the centre found that the unhygienic premises of the kitchen may have caused the fungal infection. The report suggested to the authorities to examine the kitchen premises.


The fungal infected appam was found by some pilgrims on the night of November 22 at Sannidhanam. When the pilgrims raised complaints, more than two lakhs of Appam were burnt on November 23. 


The Devaswom Board clarified that fungus infection took place because of  increase in the quantity of banana used in making the appam. It was found that the oil used was also contaminated and the presence of sodium dio sulphate may have caused the fungal infection. This fungal presence may cause food poison and lead to serious diseases of liver and intestine.