KL This Week: Army Jawan Fakes PFI Attack for Fame; Arrested by Police
Image by Prakash R
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important developments from across Kerala during the past week, including the successful prevention of the Nipah virus spread, the arrest of an army jawan and his friend for faking an attack by the banned Popular Front of India (PFI) members, protests by several workers’ unions and the conduct of regional review meeting by the chief minister.
NIPAH SCARE RECEDES
With no new cases and all four patients diagnosed with the Nipah virus recovering, the virus scare has receded. The state of Kerala has demonstrated the importance of a strong public health system in fighting such deadly viral infections. The tracking and testing process, implementation of containment zones across several local bodies, house-to-house survey by health workers and Kudumbashree members, and fast testing helped the state limit the number of positive cases to six.
No new positive cases were reported after September 11, when the sixth positive case was identified after tests at the National Institute of Virology, Pune. Two people succumbed to the virus on August 30 and September 11.
Veena George, the minister for health, children and women development, confirmed that all four patients under treatment have tested negative in two successive tests held with a gap of five days in between. A nine-year-old boy, who was on ventilator support, has also recovered completely.
The minister has nonetheless appealed to the people to exercise caution. The minister thanked and congratulated the healthcare workers for their effort during the battle against the deadly Bangladesh variant, known to have a high mortality rate.
Meanwhile, the state has received the Arogya Manthan award for the third consecutive year for providing the highest number of free medical treatments.
ARMY JAWAN FAKES PFI ATTACK, ARRESTED BY POLICE
An army jawan faked an attack making it appear like an attack by PFI members in the Kollam district. After interrogation, the soldier, Saneesh Kumar, and his friend Joshi have been arrested by the police. The jawan had forced his friend to write PFI with green paint on his back after tearing off his shirt “to gain fame”.
Initially, Saneesh Kumar complained on September 25 that a group of men forcibly took him away from home, beat him up, and wrote PFI on his back. Several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including state president K Surendran, C T Ravi, and several other right-wing handles propagated the news on X (formerly Twitter) condemning the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government for its laxity. Even after Joshi, the jawan's friend confessed to staging the incident, the BJP leaders have not taken down their posts.
CM HOLDS REGIONAL REVIEW MEETINGS
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with his Cabinet colleagues and senior government officials, began the regional-level review meetings on September 26 for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Pathanamthitta districts. The second meeting for Palakkad, Malappuram, and Thrissur districts was held on September 29. Two more meetings will be held on October 3 and 5 in Ernakulam and Kozhikode.
The meetings are planned to discuss and review the ongoing works of the state government and seek public opinion on the governance and further course of action. Besides holding meetings with public and civil society organisations, the CM will continue to hold discussions with police officials.
MONSOON WITHDRAWAL BRINGS HEAVY RAINS
The withdrawal of the Southwest monsoon from September 25, with a delay of eight days, continues to bring widespread rainfall across the state. Despite heavy rains, the shortage of rainfall during the monsoon stands at 34%, with 1326.1 mm of rainfall recorded against the long period average (LPA) of 2018.6 mm.
The four Southern districts have recorded normal rainfall (-19% to +19%), while the remaining 10 districts have recorded a deficit (-59% to -20%) from June 1 to September 30 in comparison with the LPA.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert to five districts and yellow alert to remaining districts on September 30, while a yellow alert is issued for five districts on October 1.
TRANSPORT WORKERS PROTEST
The Confederation of Transport Workers took out marches to central government offices against the policies pursued by the BJP-led union government affecting the road transport workers. The demands include the reduction of fuel prices, withdrawal of amendments in Motor Vehicle Act and implementation of worker-friendly policies in the sector.
RAJ BHAVAN MARCH OF ARTISANS
The Kerala Artisans Union affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) held a Raj Bhavan march against the anti-worker policies of the BJP government affecting the traditional sector requiring human skills on September 26. The workers in the field of carpentry, blacksmithing, goldsmithing, coppersmithing, bell metal, pottery, leather products, and other artistic works participated in large numbers.
SHOPS AND ESTABLISHMENT WORKERS MARCH
After a vehicle jatha across the state, the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Workers' Union (CITU) held a Raj Bhavan march and dharna on September 30. Inaugurating the dharna Elamaram Kareem, the state general secretary of CITU accused the Union government of implementing pro-corporate policies in the retail sector affecting several lakhs of workers besides demanding minimum wages for workers in the sector and regulated working time.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.