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KL This Week: COVID-19 Cases See Marginal Increase; One JN.1 Variant Case Identified

Neelambaran A |
NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important developments from Kerala during the week.
KL This Week

Image by Prakash R

NewsClick brings you a round-up of the important developments from Kerala during the week, including the conclusion of the public outreach program of the government of Kerala called Nava Kerala Sadas, an increase in active COVID-19 cases, the election of Mani Viswanath as the first woman Chairperson of Thiruvananthapuram region of MILMA, the milk producers' cooperative society, and the continuing protest by the Students Federation of India (SFI) against the nomination of Sangh Parivar members to the senate of universities.


The Nava Kerala Sadas, the outreach programme of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), concluded in Thiruvananthapuram on December 23. The chief minister and all the members of the Cabinet were present during the 36-day programme, receiving feedback from people on the aspirations for a better state and ongoing developmental activities.

Thousands of people gathered at the venues, seeking solutions to issues including housing, land pattas, medical aid, and transport facilities, among others. The concerned departments have been directed by the government to resolve the complaints within 45 days. The meetings cancelled in four constituencies of Renal district due to the death of Kanam Rajendran, the state secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), will be held on January 1 and 2. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) held protests, including black flag protests and road blockades at different places against the outreach program. In a few places, minor scuffles erupted between the protesters and police. The police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the violent protests by the UDF in Thiruvananthapuram during the last two days of the outreach programme. The members of different organisations of the opposition parties clashed with members of the youth and student organisations of the LDF parties.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan downplayed the protests by the opposition parties, claiming that the United Democratic Front (UDF) is playing into the hands of the BJP-led Union government in blocking the developmental activities of the LDF government.


The number of active COVID-19 cases in the state increased to 2,872 with 297 new cases till 8 am on December 23, and two more deaths. The new variant, JN.1 was detected in a 79-year-old woman, leading to some panic. She has recovered completely from the infection.

The minister for Health, Veena George, has advised people to take precautions and not to panic as the new variant has not proven to be dangerous. She detailed the steps carried out by the department to monitor the cases, keeping a check on the usage of ventilators, and the need for oxygen.

The state continues to test, track, and isolate patients though the number of tests has come down drastically across the country. Considering the fast-spreading tendency of the JN.1 variant, the health department has made masks in all hospitals mandatory.

The minister informed that all symptomatic patients are tested, and their samples are being sent for genome sequencing.


The SFI continued to hold protests against the nominations of the members associated with different Sangh Parivar organisations to the senate of the University of Calicut. The SFI members marched to the university during the presence of the Chancellor to register their opposition against the nominations, now stayed by the Kerala High Court.

The SFI held a protest on December 21, preventing the other nominees of the Chancellor from entering the Senate hall of Calicut University. Nine members, who allegedly have a close association with different Sangh Parivar outfits, were not permitted by the SFI to attend the meeting.

KL This Week

SFI members protesting against the Chancellor on the Calicut University campus. (Image credit: Arsho PM)


During the 3-day visit of the chancellor, Arif Mohammed Khan, to the university campus, the SFI held black flag protests and released black balloons on December 18, accusing the Governor in his capacity as the Chancellor of the universities of saffronising the higher education institutions.

KL This Week

DYFI members burned the effigy of Governor and Chancellor Arif Mohammed Khan in protest against his alleged attempts to saffronise the campuses. (Image courtesy: DYFI Kerala)

The Chancellor instructed the university authorities and police to remove the banners put up by the SFI on the campus, but the SFI leaders led by P M Arsho and Anushree K, the secretary, and president of the Kerala unit restored the removed banners. The SFI members painted the roads with slogans around the campus, against the chancellor and the Sangh Parivar organisations for their attempts to suppress dissent.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) held protests at 2,000 centres against the provocative statements and actions of the Chancellor.


Mani Viswanath became the first woman chairperson of the Thiruvananthapuram Regional Cooperative Milk Producers Union (TRCMPU). The fight was between the LDF and UDF, with the LDF winning the elections for the first time, garnering nine of the 14 seats. The region includes four southern districts, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Alappuzha.

The election was held more than a year ago, but the results were delayed due to legal issues and were published after obtaining permission from the court. With the victory, the LDF will gain control of the MILMA Federation, with the alliance ruling the Malabar region while the UDF is in control of the Ernakulam region.

Mani Vishwanath, a retired employee with service in the local self-government department and agriculture, is currently the president of the Pathiyoor Kala Milk Producers’ Society in Alappuzha district. She has also served as the vice president of the district panchayat as an LDF representative and is an elected member of the Muthukulam block panchayat.

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