Ramesh Babu

Ramesh Babu is HT’s bureau chief in Kerala, with about three decades of experience in journalism.

Articles by Ramesh Babu

‘Miscarriage of justice’: Uproar mounts on court order

Widespread outrage continued in Kerala on Saturday, a day after a Kottayam court acquitted Roman Catholic bishop Franco Mulakkal of charges of repeatedly raping a nun
Nuns hold protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, Kerala. (FILE PHOTO)
Nuns hold protest demanding justice after an alleged sexual assault of a nun by a bishop in Kochi, Kerala. (FILE PHOTO)
Published on Jan 16, 2022 12:43 AM IST
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{Kerala nun rape case} Outrage mounts over acquittal; activists launch online campaign

The nun had alleged Mullakal had raped her several times between 2014 and 2016; the Kottayam court said the victim’s statements were contradictory and corroborative evidences were missing
Former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mullakal, 57, was the lone accused in the Kerala nun rape case. (HT file photo)
Former Bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mullakal, 57, was the lone accused in the Kerala nun rape case. (HT file photo)
Published on Jan 15, 2022 10:25 PM IST
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Bishop Franco acquitted in Kerala nun rape case

The unexpected verdict sparked a wave of condemnation, with supporters of the victim saying they will move the high court
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping the woman 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kuruvilanghad in Kottayam, when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. (PTI)
Bishop Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping the woman 13 times between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kuruvilanghad in Kottayam, when he was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 14, 2022 11:39 PM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala nun rape: unusual case that witnessed many twists and turns

Earlier many priests have faced sexual harassment and assault charges from believers, but this is the first time one from the ordained flock turned against the powerful diocese head attracting widespread attention.
The powerful church stood with Bishop Franco Mullakkal though many activists and a miniscule section of the clergy rallied behind the agitating nuns. (PTI Photo)
The powerful church stood with Bishop Franco Mullakkal though many activists and a miniscule section of the clergy rallied behind the agitating nuns. (PTI Photo)
Published on Jan 14, 2022 06:55 PM IST
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‘Pity that vice chancellor can’t write two sentences properly’: Kerala governor

Kerala University vice chancellor Prof. Mahadevan Pillai’s handwritten letter to governor revealed sthat the V-C, instead of convening a meeting of the university Syndicate meeting to decide on the governor’s suggestion, “discussed” it with some the university Syndicate members and told the governor that the University Syndicate had turned down the proposal.
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is at loggerheads with the Kerala government over alleged political interference in the functioning of the universities, expressed his wish to step down as chancellor of universities in the state from December 8 last year, alleging political interference in their functioning. (Kerala)
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who is at loggerheads with the Kerala government over alleged political interference in the functioning of the universities, expressed his wish to step down as chancellor of universities in the state from December 8 last year, alleging political interference in their functioning. (Kerala)
Published on Jan 10, 2022 04:54 PM IST
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Abandoned tiger cub develops cataract, rewilding prospects hit

The forest department is planning to import a drug from the United States called Lanosterol, which experts said can help dissolve the cataract to an extent
HT had reported in June 2021 that the cub was around two months old when two forest guards on patrol duty had spotted her in November 2020. (REPRESENTATIONAL)
HT had reported in June 2021 that the cub was around two months old when two forest guards on patrol duty had spotted her in November 2020. (REPRESENTATIONAL)
Published on Jan 10, 2022 12:27 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala actor’s abduction, assault case drags on

The Kerala actor abduction and assault case saw two special public prosecutors resign, 38 witnesses turned hostile, and prosecution moved higher courts, seeking a change of the trial judge
After the revelation, the investigating officer Baiju Paulose had moved a fresh plea in the Kerala high court requesting to question the main accused Pulsar Suni, who is in judicial custody. (Representative use)
After the revelation, the investigating officer Baiju Paulose had moved a fresh plea in the Kerala high court requesting to question the main accused Pulsar Suni, who is in judicial custody. (Representative use)
Published on Jan 06, 2022 12:41 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala: Vijayan announces relief package for those facing losses due to K-Rail

Congress, the main Opposition party in the state of Kerala, and the Bharatiya Janata Party have been opposing the rail project
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has maintained that his government will not bow to protests over the high-speed K-Rail project. (PTI/File)
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has maintained that his government will not bow to protests over the high-speed K-Rail project. (PTI/File)
Updated on Jan 04, 2022 04:32 PM IST
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18 years and fighting: HIV-infected Kerala mother seeks job for her educated children

Her children were thrown out of their school but she fought back and ensured education to her children at the same school
The heart-rending tale the woman and her three minor children surfaced in 2003 when a lower primary school in Kottiyoor (Kannur district) expelled her two children after it came to know that they were also infected with the HIV (HT FILE PHOTO)
The heart-rending tale the woman and her three minor children surfaced in 2003 when a lower primary school in Kottiyoor (Kannur district) expelled her two children after it came to know that they were also infected with the HIV (HT FILE PHOTO)
Published on Jan 03, 2022 12:23 AM IST
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Year that was: Left’s hold continues; nature’s fury returns in Kerala

This year saw the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) making history in the April assembly election by retaining power in Kerala that usually boots out the incumbent
At least 40 people killed in Kottayam and Idukki districts in October after heavy downpour and landslides. (HT)
At least 40 people killed in Kottayam and Idukki districts in October after heavy downpour and landslides. (HT)
Updated on Dec 30, 2021 12:45 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala high-speed rail: CPI expresses concern, PCC warns Tharoor to mend his ways

Two weeks back when 17 MPs from the state wrote to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav urging him not to give clearance to the high-speed project ‘K Rail,’ Tharoor abstained from it saying he needed more time to study the project. But he made it clear that not signing the letter does not mean that he supported the project.
The Kerala Congress on Sunday asked party MP Shashi Tharoor who refused to oppose the rail project to fall in line. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
The Kerala Congress on Sunday asked party MP Shashi Tharoor who refused to oppose the rail project to fall in line. (HT FILE PHOTO.)
Published on Dec 27, 2021 12:11 AM IST
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Row over K Rail intensifies as CPI expresses concern

The 63,490-crore K-rail project aims at developing a high-speed rail network, connecting north Kerala’s Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in the south.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government will go ahead with the project, with his party asking the cadre to “expose forces” that are bend to “derail developmental activities” of the state. (HT PHOTO)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government will go ahead with the project, with his party asking the cadre to “expose forces” that are bend to “derail developmental activities” of the state. (HT PHOTO)
Published on Dec 27, 2021 12:11 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Differently abled man in Kerala overcomes hurdles to help needy during Covid

Since 2019, Salim is the most sought after person in Ranni town of Pathanamthitta district, where he has helped more than 2,000 Covid patients reach the hospital in the past two years.
Polio-stricken, once Salim Kumar (38) gets into his specially-modified car with the help of two persons, he swifts away to reach the needy. (HT)
Polio-stricken, once Salim Kumar (38) gets into his specially-modified car with the help of two persons, he swifts away to reach the needy. (HT)
Updated on Dec 23, 2021 12:37 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Plea to remove PM photo from jab certificate dismissed. HC orders 1 lakh fine

The Kerala high court said the petition to remove PM Modi’s photo from the vaccine certificates was a publicity-oriented petition. “...and I have a strong doubt that there is political agenda,” the judge ruled
The Kerala high court judge earlier gave the petitioner an opportunity to withdraw the petition seeking removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from Covid-19 vaccine certificates issued by the government but the petitioner declined. (ANI)
The Kerala high court judge earlier gave the petitioner an opportunity to withdraw the petition seeking removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from Covid-19 vaccine certificates issued by the government but the petitioner declined. (ANI)
Updated on Dec 21, 2021 01:10 PM IST
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‘Appeasement politics’: MoS Home Nityanand Rai raps Kerala govt on twin murders

The minister rushed to the state to pay homage to Sreenivasan who was hacked to death in his home in Alappuzha on Sunday
BJP OBC Morcha state secretary Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death in his house allegedly by SDPI workers. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll. (SOURCED)
BJP OBC Morcha state secretary Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death in his house allegedly by SDPI workers. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll. (SOURCED)
Updated on Dec 20, 2021 08:59 PM IST
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Third generation Kerala craftsmen keep tradition of ‘Nettur petti’ alive

Craftsmen have no idea how Nettur petti got its name. “It is also known as Malabar petti, and we feel it might have imbibed the name from a village along the Malabar coast,” Suresh said.
Many swear they still keep their valuables in ‘Nettur petti’ as part of the tradition, and some believe it is a symbol of luck and prosperity. (Vivek R Nair/HT)
Many swear they still keep their valuables in ‘Nettur petti’ as part of the tradition, and some believe it is a symbol of luck and prosperity. (Vivek R Nair/HT)
Published on Dec 20, 2021 12:18 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Murders of SDPI, BJP leaders spark tension in Kerala’s Alappuzha, curfew imposed

The authorities have detained at least 50 people in connection with the killings of SDPI and BJP leaders in Kerala’s Alappuzha.
Murders of SDPI, BJP leaders spark tension in Kerala’s Alappuzha, curfew imposed
Murders of SDPI, BJP leaders spark tension in Kerala’s Alappuzha, curfew imposed
Updated on Dec 20, 2021 02:28 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Two political murders in 12 hours shock Kerala

The SDPI leader was attacked while he was returning home in Mannacherry on his scooter. Assailants who came in a car first hit the two-wheeler and when he fell down they stabbed him repeatedly, police said. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll.
BJP OBC Morch state secretary Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death in his house allegedly by SDPI workers. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll. (SOURCED.)
BJP OBC Morch state secretary Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death in his house allegedly by SDPI workers. The BJP leader was attacked on Sunday morning while he was coming out of his house for a morning stroll. (SOURCED.)
Published on Dec 19, 2021 04:26 PM IST
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Two political murders in under 12 hours shock Kerala

Two state-level leaders of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were killed in an apparent retaliatory attack in Alappuzha on Sunday, police said
BJP OBC Morcha leader Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death outside his house on Sunday morning. (File photo)
BJP OBC Morcha leader Ranjith Sreenivasan was hacked to death outside his house on Sunday morning. (File photo)
Updated on Dec 19, 2021 10:05 AM IST
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Metro Man Sreedharan retires from active politics

When asked whether he was leaving the arena in disgust, Sreedharan said when he joined the BJP in March 2021, there were enough chances for the party, but the situation is different now.
Celebrated as a chief architect of the Konkan Railway as well as of the Delhi and Kochi Metros, E Sreedharan lost the Palakkad seat to sitting MLA Shafi Parambil by 3,859 votes in the Assembly elections in April this year. (ANI)
Celebrated as a chief architect of the Konkan Railway as well as of the Delhi and Kochi Metros, E Sreedharan lost the Palakkad seat to sitting MLA Shafi Parambil by 3,859 votes in the Assembly elections in April this year. (ANI)
Published on Dec 17, 2021 12:41 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala: No trace of tiger on prowl in Kerala, villagers launch stir

State forest minister A K Saseendran, who called a special meeting in the state capital on Thursday, said the government would do everything possible to alleviate the fear and agony of the villagers.
Two divisional forest officers, 200-odd forest personnel, three tranquillising teams, a trained elephant squad and selected local volunteers have been trying to locate the elusive tiger, which has made 17 killings in the last 20 days. (HT)
Two divisional forest officers, 200-odd forest personnel, three tranquillising teams, a trained elephant squad and selected local volunteers have been trying to locate the elusive tiger, which has made 17 killings in the last 20 days. (HT)
Published on Dec 17, 2021 12:38 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

‘Metro Man’ Sreedharan makes surprise exit from active politics

Asked if he was leaving politics due to any regrets, E Sreedharan said that when he joined the BJP in March, he felt the party had good prospects in Kerala but that situation has now changed
A file photo of celebrated engineer E Sreedharan, hailed as ‘Metro Man’. (HT archives)
A file photo of celebrated engineer E Sreedharan, hailed as ‘Metro Man’. (HT archives)
Published on Dec 16, 2021 04:06 PM IST
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Kerala’s ambitious unisex uniform plan in schools runs into rough weather

Protestors, however, insisted that the move was anti-democratic and an encroachment on women’s right to wear anything they wished.
Protests erupted when more than a dozen schools in the state shifted to the gender neutral uniform and the government pledged support to the new initiative. (SOURCED.)
Protests erupted when more than a dozen schools in the state shifted to the gender neutral uniform and the government pledged support to the new initiative. (SOURCED.)
Published on Dec 16, 2021 01:14 AM IST
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Muslim outfits oppose Kerala’s unisex school uniform

The new uniform pattern was introduced in higher classes, class 10 onwards, and state higher education minister R Bindu inaugurated the event.
Protestors said the new rule infringes upon girl students’ right to wear what they wish. (Representative photo/AFP)
Protestors said the new rule infringes upon girl students’ right to wear what they wish. (Representative photo/AFP)
Published on Dec 16, 2021 01:00 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Govt gives nod to HLL disinvestment process, workers oppose move

The HLL Lifecare, which played a key role in India’s family planning programme in the 1970s manufacturing condoms branded Nirodh, forayed into other contraceptive, hospital supplies and women’s healthcare products starting from the 1990s, according to the company website.
The government gave its “in-principle” approval for its HLL’s disinvestment in July. (Representative use)
The government gave its “in-principle” approval for its HLL’s disinvestment in July. (Representative use)
Updated on Dec 15, 2021 12:24 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram

Don’t intend to take over guv’s post as chancellor of universities: Kerala CM

CM Pinarayi Vijayan said Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s recent outbursts over ‘political interference’ in the appointment of vice-chancellors were ‘unfortunate’
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government has no intention of taking over the position of chancellor of universities in the state. (Archive)
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government has no intention of taking over the position of chancellor of universities in the state. (Archive)
Published on Dec 13, 2021 12:14 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Kerala governor slams ‘political appointments’ in varsities

Talking to HT from New Delhi days after he wrote a strongly worded letter to chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Khan said he was really “pained” over the dipping standard of higher educational centres and blamed the “brazen political interference” as main reason for this.
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan said as the chancellor of the universities he had tried his best to save the autonomy of the higher educational institutions. (PTI)
Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan said as the chancellor of the universities he had tried his best to save the autonomy of the higher educational institutions. (PTI)
Published on Dec 12, 2021 12:21 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Dresses for free: Meet the man behind a wedding-wear bank in Kerala

Nasar Thootha invites people to donate ensembles that they aren’t realistically going to reuse. He then offers the outfits free, to brides-to-be who need them. He has 800 outfits and counting, in a store he now rents for the purpose. ‘Most brides offer to return the clothes, but I say keep them, pass them on,’ he says.
Thootha’s collection includes saris, lehengas and gowns. ‘Most bridal clothes are worn once, that too for a few hours. Instead of keeping them in cupboards, my message is, why not use them for a better cause,’ he says.
Thootha’s collection includes saris, lehengas and gowns. ‘Most bridal clothes are worn once, that too for a few hours. Instead of keeping them in cupboards, my message is, why not use them for a better cause,’ he says.
Updated on Dec 11, 2021 11:38 AM IST
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Kerala Opposition mounts attack over high speed rail project

People familiar with the development said the government has also started a crackdown on protesters who disrupted survey and other works of the project. Police said around 100 people have been booked in four districts in north Kerala so far
Many environmental activists have also opposed the <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>63,490-crore proposed project, saying the state is yet to learn lessons from recent natural calamities and early warnings of climate change. (HT Photo)
Many environmental activists have also opposed the 63,490-crore proposed project, saying the state is yet to learn lessons from recent natural calamities and early warnings of climate change. (HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 11, 2021 12:23 AM IST
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By, Thiruvananthapuram

Opposition against high speed rail project gains momentum in Kerala

The CPI(M) is planning to portray it as a struggle between development and anti-development forces in the state. Though the project is yet to get environmental clearance and the Union railway ministry’s nod the government is surging ahead with the project.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent a letter to Prime Minister Modi seeking his personal intervention to speed up sanction for the rail project. (ANI PHOTO.)
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sent a letter to Prime Minister Modi seeking his personal intervention to speed up sanction for the rail project. (ANI PHOTO.)
Published on Dec 10, 2021 05:51 PM IST
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Tuesday, January 18, 2022