A look at some of biggest news events reported in Kerala in 2023 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

A look at some of biggest news events reported in Kerala in 2023

Dec 31, 2023 05:50 PM IST

In one of the worst boat disasters in Kerala, 22 lives were lost and several others injured when an overcrowded recreational boat capsized in Thooval Theeram, a part of a riverine estuary, in Tanur in Malappuram district

Death of former CM Oommen Chandy

Congress veteran and former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy was laid to rest with state honour in July (PTI Photo)
Congress veteran and former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy was laid to rest with state honour in July (PTI Photo)

The passing away of two-time chief minister and veteran Congress leader Oommen Chandy on July 18 at a hospital in Bengaluru opened the floodgates of grief and anguish in Kerala. One of the tallest political leaders of the state who was known for his humility, gentle demeanour, and wide acceptance among the public, Chandy was 79 when he succumbed to cancer. His funeral procession, from Thiruvananthapuram to Puthuppally over a distance of 145 kilometres, took over 30 hours as thousands of people stood in heat and rain to pay their last respects.

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IED blasts rock Christian group’s convention, 8 killed

On the morning of October 29, a series of IED blasts ripped through a regional convention of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian sect, at a private hall in Kalamassery on the outskirts of Kochi. While two people died in the immediate hours, six others succumbed to severe burn injuries over the next two months, taking the overall toll to eight. On the same day of the blasts, 57-year-old Dominic Martin surrendered before the police claiming responsibility. Police claimed that Martin alone carried out the blasts to take revenge on the Christian sect as he believed it was imparting radical, anti-national teachings to its members.

LDF, UDF compete to hold pro-Palestine gatherings

The raging conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza where over 21000 people have been killed so far found reflections here in faraway Kerala. Both the CPM-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF vied with each other to organise mega pro-Palestine solidarity gatherings across the state where speakers railed against Israel’s actions. While the IUML, an ally of Congress, organised perhaps the largest pro-Palestine meeting in India on the shores of the Arabian Sea in Kozhikode, the speech by a Hamas leader via videoconferencing at a rally organised by the youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami sparked outrage.

Rogue wild tusker Arikomban captured and translocated from Kerala

2023 was the year when the man-elephant conflict in the state was widely discussed and dissected through the exacting capture and shifting of a rogue wild tusker in Idukki in April. The elephant, named Arikomban by locals for its propensity to raid ration shops looking for ‘ari’ (rice), was accused of killing as many as 10 people and causing extensive damage in the Chinnakanal area. Bowing down to the locals’ demand, the forest department tranquilised the tusker before shifting it to the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

22 dead as overcrowded boat capsizes near Tanur in Malappuram

In one of the worst boat disasters in Kerala, 22 lives were lost and several others injured when an overcrowded recreational boat capsized in Thooval Theeram, a part of a riverine estuary, in Tanur in Malappuram district. On the evening of May 7, the boat Atlantic drifted away from the shore with more people than its maximum capacity and tilted to one side eventually causing many to fall into the river and drown. The boat owner was arrested and charged with culpable homicide.

Young doctor stabbed to death at govt hospital, Govt approves ordinance

Healthcare professionals and the larger public in Kerala were shaken by the murder of a 22-year-old woman doctor at a government taluk hospital in Kottarakkara by a male patient who was suffering from withdrawal paranoia due to alcohol addiction. The incident was reported on the evening of May 9 when Sandeep, a school teacher, was brought in for treatment at the hospital. However, at the hospital, he attacked a policeman and subsequently Dr Vandana Das with a pair of scissors. The incident unleashed massive protests by healthcare workers demanding security and protection during work. An ordinance was later brought in by the state government with stricter punishment for attacks against healthcare workers and more security for them while on duty.

Five-year-old girl abducted, raped and killed by migrant labourer in Aluva

In an incident that put a question mark on the safety and security of children in Kerala, a five-year-old girl was kidnapped from her home near Aluva in broad daylight on July 28, taken to an isolated area, raped and strangled. Her body was retrieved the next day by the police from under a heap of garbage. Police arrested a migrant labourer named Asafak Alam, who hails from Bihar, and charged him with raping and killing the child. On November 4, after a trial that lasted just 26 days, Alam was sentenced to death by the special POCSO court.

Nipah virus outbreak in Kozhikode again, 2 dead

In a major health scare, the Nipah virus, a zoonotic virus transmitted to humans, especially through secretions of fruit bats, was reported for the third time in six years in Kozhikode district. This time, there were six confirmed cases out of which two died on August 30 and September 2. The remaining four persons, including a 10-year-old boy, recovered following a tried and tested treatment model. Though there were two casualties, the state health department earned praise for its effective surveillance and contact tracing measures that helped limit the outbreak.

First ship berthed at the under-construction Vizhinjam seaport

A major milestone was marked at the under-construction 7700 crore deep-water international seaport in Vizhinjam as the first ship was officially berthed on October 15 in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The vessel carried cranes from China. While the first phase of the project is expected to be commissioned in May next year, the seaport aims to provide tough competition to neighbouring ports like Colombo and Dubai in handling large cargo. It is being built under a PPP model with the state government, Centre and Adani group as partners.

CM, cabinet travel by bus to explain state’s challenges, Centre’s apathy

For the first time in the history of the state, the chief minister and the entire 20-member cabinet toured through the state’s 140 Assembly constituencies by bus with the objective of explaining to the public the state’s growth so far and the challenges ahead as well as the Centre’s alleged apathy towards the state in terms of granting financial autonomy. Dubbed the ‘Nava Kerala Sadas’, it turned out to be a major outreach of the LDF government ahead of general elections next year and was boycotted by both UDF and BJP. The outreach also attracted censure for the way in which protesters against it were handled by the police.

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