Sunday, July 25, 2010

CM's statement in 'bad taste', says Kunhalikutty

Kozhikode: The IUML today slammed Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan for his reported statement that radical outfit, the
Popular Front of India, was encouraging youth from other communities to convert to Islam and persuade them to marry muslim girls to increase muslim population.

'The statement is in bad taste,' IUML Kerala unit General Secretary, P K Kunhalikutty told reporters here today.

Achuthanandan had allegedly made the statement at a press conference at Delhi yesterday.

Both PFI and Abdul Nassar Madhani-led People's Democratic Party (PDP) has become a liability for the community, he said, adding because of these organisations, mosques and other institutions were being raided by the police.

'If the PFI was indulging in activities as alleged by Achuthanandan, then stringent action should be taken against them', he said, adding 'but, to accuse the community as a whole was in bad taste'. In the last state assembly elections, CPI(M) had aligned with
such forces, he charged.

'CPI(M) should not carry PDP on its shoulders with the objective of weakening the IUML,' he said. PTI

PFI aims to convert kerala into Muslim majority state: VS

New Delhi : Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan here on Saturday charged the Popular Front of India with aiming to convert Kerala into a Muslim-majority state in the next twenty years.

To achieve their goal, the front leaders were attracting youth in their fold by giving them money and weapons, he alleged.

Addressing a news conference here, the Chief Minister said the Front was indulging in conversions by persuading the youth in the state to marry Muslim women.

He justified his government's crackdown on the Front's activists, saying ''They want to make Kerala a Muslim majority state. They even plan to form a political party by next election.'' The crackdown on PFI activists came in the wake of the attack earlier this month on college professor T J Joseph, which is suspected to be carried out by its members.

Mr Joseph was on his way home, after Sunday Mass, with his mother and sister when he was pulled out of his car, pinned to the ground and his right hand hacked off with an axe by a car-borne gang. He had incorporated a question in his college's internal Malayalam examination that was considered disrespectful to Islamic faith.

The Chief Minister added that the Front was attracting youth in its fold by giving them money and weapons and providing them the necessary training and instructing them to kill its opponents.

Sohrabuddin had several cases in MP - Times of India Report on May 7 - 2007

PTI, May 7, 2007

INDORE: Gujarat fake encounter victim Sohrabuddin Sheikh had several criminal cases filed against him in Madhya Pradesh besides those in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

One of them relates to the recovery of 26 AK-56 assault rifles allegedly from a well next to Sheikh's family land in Jhirinya village of ujjain district, police sources said here.

The rifles were recovered by gujarat police in november 1995 following a tip-off by an arrested indore-based person, the sources said.

Sheikh had dumped the rifles in the well situated on a government land to avoid suspicion, a senior police officer told PTI.

It was a smart move by Sheikh (to dump the arms in the well) which ultimately led to his acquittal in the case, he said.

It still remains a mystery how such a big cache of sophisticated weapons reached the non-descript village, the sources said.

Madhya pradesh police has records of Sheikh's alleged involvement in a number of crimes, including extortion and transportation of deadly weapons at the behest of Latif, a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, for spreading terror in the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition in December 1992, the sources added.

Some Congress leaders had described Sohrabuddin Sheikh as a “small-time criminal.”

CBI acting as a tool of Centre, alleges former Minister

AHMEDABAD:Four days after he was first issued summons by the CBI on Thursday for questioning, the former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, made a dramatic appearance before the media on Sunday to present “his side” on the Sohrabuddin-Kausarbi episode. He expressed the apprehension that the CBI was acting as a “tool” in the hands of the UPA government to “fabricate” charges against him.

“I am totally innocent and all the charges against me are false, fabricated, formulated from a fit of imagination and are politically-motivated. The charge sheet against me is nothing but a Congress-inspired bundle of lies,” he said.

Stating that he had full confidence in and respect for the judiciary, he said the charge sheet would not stand legal scrutiny “even for a minute” and that he was confident of getting justice from the judiciary and in the process would “expose” the “pressure groups” behind the CBI.

The press conference was hurriedly convened by the BJP to be addressed by its State unit president R. C. Faldu, where Mr. Shah made the sudden appearance. He refused to say where he had been in the last four days since the first summons was issued when he remained untraceable. “I was with some friends and seeking legal advice.” He also denied that he was on the run or trying to evade the CBI.

Mr. Shah said the actions of the CBI in filing the charge sheet even before questioning him gave credence to the apprehension that summoning him was only a “big drama” and unrelated to “fabricating charges” against him “apparently at the behest of some quarters” as a part of “conspiracy” to defame and destabilise the Narendra Modi-led government.

It was humanly impossible to prepare a 30,000-page charge sheet in just three hours from 1 p.m., the deadline he was given to appear before the CBI on Friday, to 4 p.m. when the charge sheet was filed in the court the same day, he said.

“It is clear that everything was ready in advance and the CBI was only playing a big drama to summon me to question.” He said he avoided appearing on Friday because he had come to know the previous night that the CBI was already taking photo copies of the charge sheet.

Mr. Shah said he and all other accused were yet to receive a copy of the charge sheet. What he learnt from media reports about its contents was clear that all the charges were false and fabricated. He claimed that he was summoned for questioning under chapter 14 of the Cr. P.C., which was used against a person charged with pressuring and threatening witnesses, but in the charge sheet he was shown as a “murderer, conspirator, kidnapper, extortionist and what not.” He said he was shocked that the CBI could do such wrongs.

Attacking the Congress, Mr. Shah regretted that some of its leaders had described Sohrabuddin Sheikh as a “small-time criminal.” How could a person from whose residence in Madhya Pradesh the Gujarat police had recovered more than 40 AK 47 rifles, hundreds of hand-grenades and over a lakh live cartridges, who was “wanted” in five States and against whom more than 40 criminal cases had been pending could be called a “small criminal?”

He also wondered why everyone was ignoring the “fact” that the same police officers implicated in the Sohrabuddin encounter had actually arrested and produced in court some 400 terrorists who were still in jails.

“There were six encounters in Gujarat, but over 1,700 encounters all over the country. But the UPA government has only singled out Gujarat and one such encounter to defame the BJP government in the State.”

Mr. Shah demanded that his appearance before the CBI be “fully video-recorded.” He said he had apprehensions that his replies could be “distorted” by the CBI to “its own advantage” as it did in case of several others who appeared before the investigating agency and whose “statements” were used to frame charges against him. The CBI, however, later did not give any such opportunity and took him to the court without any questioning.

When pointed out that some of the police officers arrested earlier in this connection had named him the brain behind the entire episode, during some conversations which were recorded secretly by one of the police officers, Mr Shah said recording any conversation in the jail was itself an illegal act and could not form the basis of any trial. “The person who recorded the conversation should be punished.”

Both Mr. Shah and earlier Mr. Faldu said the BJP would take the “political fight” to the streets while fighting the legal battle in courts.

The party would expose before the people the “misdeeds” of the Congress, which after losing elections at all levels from the panchayat to the Assembly in the last 20 years in the State, found that a “political encounter” of the Modi administration was the only way to destabilise the BJP, Mr. Faldu said.

The Congress was apparently “scared and worried” over Mr. Modi's “increasing popularity” all over the country, he said.

“Silent rally”

Soon after Mr. Shah was lodged in jail, BJP workers took out a “silent rally” in protest in Ahmedabad.

State party general secretary and spokesman Vijay Rupani said similar rallies would be taken out at all the six major urban centres in the State on Monday and later at the district and taluk levels.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mangrove park violated coastal rules: Expert committee

Kannur: The expert committee which was appointed to study the environment threats caused by Pappinisseri mangrove park has found that the park violated the Coastal Regulatory Zone rules. For the construction of the park natural mangroves around three acres were destroyed. Construction work worth Rs 2 crore have taken place without the panchayat sanction. The park is being constructed in such a way that it disrupts the usual flow of water. The primary report of the committee stated that the park was being constructed to make way for a theme park. It has been constructed on tidal flats, mangroves and abandoned filtration ponds.

The committee would visit the spot again on July 27 and submit the final report to the central government. The park was closed last Monday as per the direction of the Union Ministry of Environment. The committee comprises Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority member Dr B Madhusoodhana Kurup, scientists from Thiruvananthapuram Centre for Earth Science Studies Dr K V Thomas and Dr C N Mohanan, Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment joint director Dr Kamalakshan Kokkal and scientist Dr P Harinarayanan, scientist of Kozhikode Centre for Water Resources Development and Management Dr C Sushanth and a representative from the forest department.

The Pappinisseri Eco Tourism Society under the CPM constructed the park claiming that the park was being set up to protect mangroves. The committee had conducted the study on the environmental threats caused by the park.

Justice Ramachandran Nair slams govt for 'threats'

Thiruvananthapuram: Justice C.N. Ramachandran Nair of the Kerala High Court Friday slammed the state government for filing a petition seeking to replace him on the bench that will hear a review petition against the holding of public meetings by the roadside.
Citing that legal procedures maintain that a review petition should be heard by the same judge who pronounced the verdict, Nair asked the government to 'stop the threats' against him and said he would 'not succumb to such threats'.

Nair said the government's review petition 'means that the government has no concern for the people'.

He said the government has a feeling that judges are fools and asked why the review petition was filed by the additional chief secretary instead of the chief secretary.

The government had filed a petition Friday in the high court seeking the replacement of Nair because he had defended his judgment outside the court.

The government, in its petition, said that a division bench of the Kerala High Court on June 23 prohibited holding of public meetings by the roadside.

The bench, comprising Justice Nair and Justice P.S. Gopinathan, had directed the police, civic bodies, local self-government and revenue departments to refuse permission for holding such meetings.

In its verdict last month, the court said it issued the order to ensure free flow of traffic on public roads and also for the safety of the public.

Coming down heavily on the government, Nair asked if the cabinet had discussed if a review petition should be filed and also if the assembly which is in session had discussed this issue.

Nair told the government that if they were not happy with the verdict, they could come out with a new law.

The hearing will continue next week, when the verdict on the review petition would be given

Thursday, July 22, 2010

CPM ruining Railways image by putting cockroaches in food: Mamata

KOLKATA: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has suggested CPM's hand in the train accident in Sainthia and the Jnaneswari Express mishap and ruled out resigning on moral grounds.

'I am prepared to resign if the CPM guarantees that it will not indulge in sabotage,' she said slamming the Marxists for demanding her resignation in the wake of Monday's accident in Birbhum district which left 66 persons dead.

Banerjee, who had resigned twice earlier as union minister, said people were ringing her up to tell her not to walk into CPM's trap by quitting.

'They have been planning sabotage. They are trying to ruin the (reputation of) Railways by letting cockroaches into food. It is time for the CPM to go. The Jnaneswari Express accident took place on May 28 two before the Kolkata Municipal Corporation elections,' she pointed out.

Banerjee was addressing her party's mammoth Martyr's Day rally organised in the memory of 13 Youth Congress workers killed in a police firing here on this day in 1993.

'The accident at Sainthia occurred on July 19 before our Martyr's Day rally today. Both took place around 2:00 am. Many people were killed. This should be probed. The CBI is investigating the earlier accident.

'They (Marxists) are not planning development, but opening clips on tracks. Some comrades are drawing up scientific plans. After the Jnaneswari (accident) they strung up a poster claiming that it was an accident. Who were behind it should be investigated. It is sabotage,' she said.

Four more arrested in lecturer attack case

Kochi: Four more activists of radical outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested today in connection with the July 4 attack on a lecturer, whose right hand was chopped off for allegedly preparing an inflammatory question paper. With this, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 10. Cases of conspiracy have been registered against Shiyas, divisional secretary of PFI's Nellimattam unit in Ernakulam district and Mohammed Ali of Muvattupuzha, while a case has been registered against Latheef of Aluva and MoideenKutty of Valancherry in Malappuram district for harbouring some of the accused involved in the attack on Joseph.

The arrests were made on the basis of confessional statements of Yunus, who was arrested yesterday from Palakaad while returning from Nagore in Tamil Nadu, police said. The arrested would be produced before Muvattupzha First class
Magistrate court later in the day, they said. The lecturer, T J Joseph was attacked on July 4 by suspected PFI activists for preparing a question paper which allegedly had derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed. He was returning with his family after Sunday mass that day when the incident took place.

Packaged drinking water from Kerala government by next year

Thiruvananthapuram: Water resources minister N K Premachandran informed assembly that packaged drinking water project by the government will be implemented from next year. E-payment facility for paying the water charge in the 14 divisions of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) will be made possible this financial year itself, he added.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thachankary's suspension term extended to 6 more months

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government has decided to extend the suspension term of IG Tomin Thachankary who had undertaken a foreign trip without the consent of the state government. The term is being extended as per the report of the review committee headed by chief secretary.

The review committee has decided to extend the suspension term as Thachankary had failed to furnish a satisfying explanation to the letter filed by the government stating that he had revoked the service rules.

Thachankary's foreign trip triggered a controversy . Thackankry was suspended for three months as per the report of DGP Jacob Punnoose and Intelligence ADGP Dr Sibi Mathews. The reply field by Thachankary on the notice sent by chief secretary also created a row. The case between government and Tomin is now under the consideration of the Central Administrative Tribunal.

The letter filed by Tomin seeking to take him back as the three months suspension period was over was examined by the committee comprising chief secretary P Prabhakaran, DGP Jacob Punnoose, home ministry additional chief secretary K Jayakumar and a decision to extend the same was taken.

Popular Front Freedom Parade banned in Ernakulum

Kochi: Ernakulum ADM has issued an order banning the freedom parade organized by Popular Front which was scheduled to be held on August 15 at Aluva . The parade was banned as per the report by the Ernakulum rural DySP Anil Kumar which stated that the parade may lead to law and order problems. The ban will be up to August 17. The ADM also banned the training programme for the parade scheduled for Saturday. The PF leaders informed that they will approach court if the ban continues.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Kerala to become 'Keralam' ?

Kerala government would look into demands for changing the official spelling of the state to 'Keralam' to make it conform to the way it is pronounced in Malayalam, Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan told the state Assembly on Wednesday. He, however, said a decision on the matter would be taken only after evloving a consensus through discussions with experts.

Responding to Babu M Palissery (CPI-M), who raised the issue as a submission, he said there had been demands from various quarters to change the official spelling of the state to 'Keralam', as it is written and pronounced in Malayalam.
They had reinforced their argument by citing instances like changing the name of 'Bombay' into 'Mumbai.'
There was a committee headed by the Revenue Minister to consider the issue of changing the names of places so as to make them conform to the way they were spelt or pronounced in Malayalam. The usual practice was that before finalising the change, it would be discussed with experts and others concerned.

In his submission, Palissery pointed out that colonial spelling of places like 'Trichur' had already been changed to 'Thrissur' and 'Calicut' to 'Kozhikode. So there was no justification in delaying correcting the official spelling of the state itself into 'Keralam', which means 'land of Keras' (coconut trees).

Rights groups under close watch in Kerala

July 14, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram: Some human rights organisations in Kerala are being closely watched after allegations they were stocking arms and indulging in undesirable activities, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told the assembly Wednesday.

"Even though there are some such organisations that are doing a good job, some recent organisations which have surfaced are working with different objectives and hence police are closely watching them," said Balakrishnan.

He said this in response to a call attention motion raised by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator P. Viswan who said some organisations operating under the guise of human rights were stocking arms and were engaged in undesirable activities.

"Another feature of such organisations is even though they don’t collect funds through contributions from here, they receive huge sums of money from abroad. Under the guise of working for the downtrodden, they do undesirable activities," said Viswan.

Balakrishnan said: "With regard to the funding issue, the state government cannot do much and hence our chief minister himself has written to the centre to see that they do a proper investigation to find the source of funds of such organisations."

Why should we be banned, asks Popular Front chairman

July 14, 2010

New Delhi: A radical Muslim leader in Kerala dismisses charges of terrorism flung at his outfit and insists there is not even one reason for the Popular Front of India (PFI) to be banned.

In contrast to the sinister image the group has acquired in the eyes of its critics, PFI chairman E.M. Abdul Rahiman says his organisation respects the law and has been crusading for the rights and social justice of Muslims, the country’s largest religious minority.

"There is not even a single reason to ban our organisation," Rahiman, 56, told IANS in an email interview after Minister of State for Home Affairs Mulapally Ramachandran said the Kerala government was yet to seek a ban on the group.

The PFI has been slowly and steadily growing in Kerala but it catapulted to headlines after the right hand of a college professor, T.J. Joseph, was chopped off on July 4 by suspected PFI activists. Joseph’s crime? He allegedly prepared a question paper that had derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.

The PFI head called the attack a crime and vowed to take "appropriate disciplinary action" if anyone in the group was found involved. He says he is ready to cooperate with the police to get to the culprits.

"Popular Front is a social movement with origins in the Muslim community. It strives for human rights and social justice. We stand for democratic values and the rule of law," he said. "We will not allow anybody associated with us to take the law into their hands."

Rahiman, a post-graduate in political science who took voluntary retirement from Cochin University in 2006, has emerged as a cult figure among young Muslims in Kerala disgusted with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a party many feel has become a part of the establishment.

"It is true that the question paper (prepared by Joseph) hurt the sentiments of Muslims. That might have provoked someone to take revenge. But we do not justify the (attack). We are not responsible for it," said Rahiman, who also holds a masters degree in library and information sciences as well as a post-graduate diploma in journalism.

Asked if he thought the hand-chopping incident was an act of terror, Rahiman retorted: "It is a criminal act. What makes an act of terror different from an act of crime, I don’t know. If it means criminal acts by organised groups, it has become routine in Kerala, particularly (in clashes) between RSS/BJP (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party) and the ruling CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist)."

The PFI was formed at Kozhikode in November 2006 merging three outfits: the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD-Karnataka), the National Development Front (NDF-Kerala) and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP-Tamil Nadu).

Rahiman, who had worked with the NDF since it was formed following the Babri Masjid razing in 1992, said the allegation that Popular Front wanted to Talibanise Muslim society was an insult to Muslims in India.

"The Taliban are local people of Afganistan fighting the invasion of the US and allied forces. Do you term brutal acts of foreign forces as ’Americanism’ or ’Obamaism’?" But he quickly adds: "It does not mean we approve every act of Taliban or any other group."

He said there was a "strong communal influence" in the police and media in Kerala.

He described the PFI, headquartered in Bangalore, as "a low budget organisation" and said its funding sources were its "thousands of cadres from whom we collect monthly subscription".

Rahiman, who became PFI chairman in 2009, denied the group trained Muslim youths. With presence in 16 states, he says the Front stands for peace and harmony

Raid at Popular Front offices: Bombs, weapons seized

Kerala Police Tuesday launched raids at the offices of Popular Front, a radical Muslim organisation, whose members are allegedly behind the attack on a teacher whose palm was chopped off and were also stockpiling crude arms and explosives.

Raids have now been conducted at the state committee office of Popular Front in Kozhikode besides offices at other districts like Kasargode and Wayanad. A large number of documents were seized from the group's office in Kozhikode and police are examining them.

The police action comes days after the opposition pulled up the ruling Left Front government for not taking stern action against subversive activities in the state.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) Monday asked the government to call an all-party meeting to discuss the recent terror-related incidents that have shaken the state.

In the last 10 days, a cache of explosives and crude arms were from the compound of a building owned by a mosque in Kannur Monday, the local Nilambur-Shornur train was sabotaged, some explosives were found on the Vanchinad Express, and the professor, who faces charges for including a blasphemous question in a question paper, was attacked.

Police had arrested five alleged Popular Front activists for the attack on the professor and another two dozen are in custody over the seizure at Kannur.

In a related development, a division bench of the Kerala High Court Tuesday asked the central and state governments to respond on a petition filed by a Kochi resident asking for a ban on the Popular Front.

Arm chopping: PFI division secretary arrested

July 13, 2010

Kochi: One more person has been arrested in connection with the chopping of the palm of Newman College Prof; T.J.Joseph. The arrested man has been identified as division secretary of the Popular Front of India (PFI) Abdul Salam.

Police claimed that Abdul Salam had provided a vehcile for men involved the attack against Joseph to escape. He has also role in the alleged conspiracy behind the incident.

The police have also served a notice on PFI asking the organisation to stop alleged armed training of the Freedom Parade.

Prof.T.J.Joseph whose arm was chopped off and his sister had Monday identified the four men allegedly responsible for the brutal act.

The pictures of four men allegedly involved in the attack were identified from over 20 photographs. Police sources said the inquiry has been extended to neighbouring states.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Police unearth CDs of Taliban like terror module

Aluva/Muvattupuzha : Kerala Police have unearthed compact discs allegedly belonging to a Taliban-like terror module in Aluva and Muvattupuzha areas of the state.

Police sources said the CDs belonged to the Popular Front of India (PFI). They confirmed that they had retrieved many terror related documents that contained Taliban and Al-Queda plans for attacks.

Police said that they are continuing with their raids of PFI houses and other institutions across the state.

In an another raid police seized a gun from the house of Popular Front leader Ayoob at Kunnetheri near Aluva.

In the raid at the district office of the organisation at Kujunnikkara pamphlets and videos relating to NDF were seized.

They also seized a car from the hideout of another PF activist Kunjumon. Pamphlets and CDs allegedly depicting and Taliban executions were recovered from his house.

On Monday, police held two Popular Front activists Kothamangalam Paruthikattukudi Jafer and Kaladi Mundeth Ashraf in relation to the case professor hand chopping case.

Both were presented before the Muvattupuzha first class judicial magistrate on Monday and were remanded for 15 days. They were charged with attempt to murder, conspiracy and other charges.

Asharf is the leader of Popular Front student''s section. It is reported that as many as 35 to 40 people have been held in various places relating to the case.

Meanwhile, three activists alleged for chopping hand case from the same organization are brought to lookout notice who are absconding since the incident.

The Popular Front of India is a confederation of Muslim fundamentalist and extremist organizations which is active in southern India. Its slogan is Naya Karavan : Naya Hindustan, which means The new travelling group and the new India.

The Front was formed on November 22, 2006 and is supported by the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), the National Development Front (NDF), and Manitha Neethi Pasarai (MNP).

They are alleged to have links to Islamic terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba and SIMI (Student Islamic Movement of India).

Madani's arrest at the right time: Bangalore police

Bangalore: The Bangalore police on Saturday made it clear that the arrest of PDP chairman Abdul Nazer Madani would take place at a suitable time. Bangalore city police commissioner Shankar Bidri said that the proceedings for the arrest are nearing completion.

While pointing at Madani making attempt to challenge the fast track court verdict , Shankar said that as of now there are no legal obstacles for the arrest. Clarifying further, the commissioner pointed out that there is no connection between Madani challenging the fast track court verdict and arresting him. Madani will approach high court against sessions court verdict on Monday.

Kerala will render all help to arrest Madani: CM

Thiruvananthapuram : Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today said the government would render all assistance to the Bangalore Police with regard to arresting People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nasser Madani, an accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts case.

Talking to reporters here, he said the government would extend all help to the Karnataka Police according to the law to arrest Madani.

The Bangalore Fast track sessions Court had denied anticipatory bail for Madani yesterday.

Madrasapattinam - Must see Tamil Film -Cochin Haneefa Casting

Director Vijay’s first attempt at making a straight Tamil film Madrasapattinam should be lauded. He had the courage of conviction to set a film in the Madras of the 1940’s under British rule and work out a love story between a Dhobi and an English Memsaab against the backdrop of an important chapter from history.

The entire feel of the film and its narration basically the romantic thread could well be Kollywood’s answer to James Cameron’s classic epic Titanic.

However having said that, Madrasapattinam is something different from the normal run of the mill Tamil movies. Vijay and his team of art director V Selva Kumar, cinematographer Nirav Shah and music director GV Prakash have done a brilliant job of recreating Madras of the 1940’s and his lead actors Arya and Amy Jackson are extraordinary.

The film continuously shifts from the present to the pre-independence Madras, as the whole story is recollection of an 84 year old Amy Wilkinson (Amy Jackson) now living in England and waiting for a brain surgery. Just before the operation she flies into Chennai with her grand daughter to search for one Ilamparithi.

A special word, about the late Cochin Haneefa who as Iyer the British stooge and translator brings the house down. His pose when the box camera in the film is focused on him is hilarious; the comedy and soft romance has been well worked out.

GV Prakash music and back ground score and the theme music gives it a soothing touch. The pick of the songs are the romantic Pookal Pookkum.. and Vaama Duraiyamma…, beautifully picturised against Madras landmarks of that era. The de-saturated look given by Nirav Shah and costumes are major plus points of this period film.

Lavishly mounted and recreating the era with precision, Madrasapattinam gets you transported to the last days of the British rule in India. To sum up, the film is a brave attempt on the part of its makers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"It is only God who can conduct a trial on me and not any court," -Madhani

Friday, July 9, 2010

Madhani’s bail plea dismissed, supporters vow to resist his arrest

Kollam: Hundreds of supporters of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Abdul Nasser Madhani gathered outside his house here Friday evening after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by a Bangalore court and vowed to resist his arrest.

As the news came on TV, the supporters rushed to Madhani’s residence at Anwarasery near here, shouting slogans that those who come to arrest Madhani can do so "but only after shooting us dead".

"He was behind bars for no reason for more than nine years in the Coimbatore bomb blast case and then finally he was let-off because he was innocent. We will not allow his arrest, come what may. This is a ’Yateem Khana’ (orphanage) where hundreds of people are. We will never allow any force to come here and arrest him," a PDP leader said.

Madhani was named as accused in the 2008 Bangalore bomb blast case and since then he was trying for an anticipatory bail from a lower court in Bangalore. Madhani said that a police team from Bangalore visited him June 7 and had asked him some questions.

Earlier, addressing his supporters after Friday prayers, Madhani said that he does not even have one percent hope of getting anticipatory bail.

"It is only God who can conduct a trial on me and not any court," he said.

Meanwhile, senior PDP leader Poonthura Siraj said that they will go in for an appeal against the non-denial of bail in the Karnataka High Court and appealed to the people to keep calm.

"We accept the verdict, but it is an unfortunate one because we all know that this is a concocted case. We are now preparing a panel of advocates who will appear for an appeal petition to be filed in the Karnataka High Court Monday. All knows that he (Madhani) is being victimised. We appeal to all people that peace should be maintained at all cost," Siraj told reporters.

Madhani and his wife Sufiya have been under the police scanner following the arrest of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative T. Nazeer last year near the Meghalaya border and now in the custody of the Bangalore police.

Nazeer is the prime accused in the 2005 Kalamssery bus burning case, in which Sufiya is also accused. She is currently on bail after being arrested last year.

After Nazeer’s arrest, the Karnataka Police got leads on the Bangalore 2008 bomb blast, in which he is also linked. Madhani is accused of having links with Nazeer and knowing of the plot but has denied the charges.

Madhani was jailed after being linked to the 1998 serial bombings in Coimbatore but was acquitted in 2007.

Monday, July 5, 2010

State bids adieu to M G Radhakrishnan

Thiruvananthapuram: Renowned music composer and singer M G Radhakrishnan passed away at a private hospital here on Friday noon. He was ailing for almost a year now and for the past one week he was in a critical condition undergoing treatment for liver ailments at a private hospital here. He is survived by his wife and two children. He was 70.

His cremation was held with full state honours at 4 pm at the Thycaud Shantikavadam. Earlier thousands from different walks of life paid homage to veteran music director. His body was kept at Swathi Tirunal Music College to enable the public to pay their last respects to their beloved composer, which was later taken to his `Medayil' house .Thousands of mourners, young and old, women and children, students descend on the college in droves to have a last glimpse of their dear musician.Chief Minister, other Ministers, Speaker ,Musicians, film fraternities have paid tribute to the great musician.

Beginning his career as a singer, he sang his first song in 1969 for 'Kallichellama', but he felt his strength was in music direction and made his debut as a composer with director Aravindan's 1978 movie 'Thampu'. In his almost three-decade-long career, he composed music for more than 30 Malayalam films.

Born on 8 August 1937 at Haripad in Alapuzha as the son of Malabar Gopalan Nair, who was a famous singer and accomplished harmonist, and Kamalaskhi Amma, a singer and well-appreciated Harikatha artist besides being a school teacher. Noted singer M G Sreekumar is his brother and singer Dr Omanakutty his sister.

A senior music composer, his compositions for films and light musics has earned him a coveted place in the minds of music lovers. After Thampu , he gave music for films like Thakaran, Aravan, Jhan Ekananu. Geetham , Jalakm , Nomarathipoovu, Adhvitham, Manichithrathazhu, Agni Devan etc. Till recently, he was associated with the All India Radio in a very senior position.

He was the favourite of ace directors like Bharatan, Priyadarshan, Padmarajan, Fazil, Venu Nagavally, and Shaji Kailas. His last film was director Santosh Sivan's 'Ananthabhadram' in 2005. Reacting to the demise of Radhakrishnan, Priyadarshan said: 'In my first film itself, he composed the music and, if I am not wrong, he has scored the maximum number of films for me. We all feel that despite being a great performer, he did not get due recognition.'

Many of the films for which he composed music became all-time hits of Malayalam film industry including, 'Manichithrathazhu' and 'Agnidevan'.

He bagged the Kerala State Film Award for best music director for the film Achaneyanenikkishtam in 2001 and Ananthabhadram in 2005, which was his last composition.

His music life got wings after joining All India Radio in 1962. He had rebdered music to many light music songs for Akashavani. Radhakrishnan had introduced famous singer K. S. Chithra into the music industry .

150 Ayurveda doctors from Kerala selected for Commonwealth Games

Thiruvananthapuram : As many as 150 junior Ayurveda doctors have been selected as masseurs for the Commonwealth Games to be held during October in New Delhi.

Talking to UNI today, Thiruvananthapuram Ayurveda Medical College Principal Dr P K Ashok said, ''the selection of doctors from the State by the Commonwealth authorities is regarded as a great achievement for Kerala, which is the only State in India to practices this system of medicine with absolute dedication.'' This was the first time that Ayurveda doctors had been included as masseurs in a Commonwealth Game and the entire team has been selected from Kerala, he added.

''A two-day seminar is being held here in which as many as 40 foreign experts are providing training on pressure application for relaxing, for warming up muscles before a sporting event and more,'' he said.

As part of the final selection process, the doctors, who attened the training session, would be tested through a written examination ahead of the Game, he said.

Later, they would be given intense training in sports medicine in New Delhi, he added.

The selection process, which began four months ago, was based on directions from the Games Directorate and the Delhi Government, he said.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Amitabh Bachchan and Mohanlal in Malayalam Film

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan is off to Ooty to shoot for his Malayalam project and says he gave his nod for the film only because of his admiration for southern superstar Mohanlal.

'My admiration for Mohanlal could never have made me refuse this offer and so I do it for him,' Amitabh posted on his blog

'Mohanlal has been and still is one of the most incredible talents from Kerala and the Malayalam film industry. I have admired him and his work through many years of my existence in this profession. He has a unique body and face language. You get the feeling that he is doing nothing, yet it results in the most amazing results -- natural, without effort and effective. Just such a joy to watch him,' he wrote.

The offer for the yet-to-be-titled project came to Amitabh when he went to Kerala to attend the celebration of sound technician Resul Pookutty's Oscar victory last year.

'It was there that Mohanlal, a guest at the occasion, had come up to my room with his director Major Ravi to put up this idea and this proposal. A few weeks later, they all came to meet up with me in Mumbai to set up all the details for the shoot,' he posted.

The 67-year-old is working for free in the movie.

'(They) put up the inevitable question that most producers do of remuneration! I had laughed at them. What? Charge you for working for three days in a Mohanlal film? An actor I admire? You must be joking! No way, no fees, no nothing. Just tell me when I have to report and where. That is all.'

There won't be any language barrier for Amitabh as he is playing a north Indian character.

'The film will be in Malayalam, but my character is north Indian so I shall be speaking in Hindi, with the odd sentence in Malayalam. Now that shall be tough, but effort shall be made, let's see what happens,' he wrote.