Every year carries with it truckloads of memories, some good and some bad. There are incidents that have ignited emotional arguments. There are films that have turned into political issues. And there are divine shrines that have transformed into battlefields. Year 2018 has its fair share of stories, controversies and issues. And all of them have impacted southern India.
From Sarkar to Sabarimala, here is the list of incidents that have unfolded in 2018 making this year another unforgettable one for south India.
- Actor Sridevi, who ruled millions of hearts with movies such as Chandni, Judaai and Mr India, passed away on February 24, 2018, after accidentally drowning in a bathtub in Dubai. She was 54.
- On February 16, 2018, Supreme Court pronounced verdict on many decades-long Cauvery dispute. It increased Karnataka’s share of the Cauvery water by 14.75 tmcft, raising it from 270 tmcft awarded by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in February 2007 to 284.75 tmc ft. The court also directed Karnataka to provide Tamil Nadu with 177 tmcft of Cauvery water. Tamil Nadu expressed its disappointment over the ruling.
- Actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan launched his party Makkal Needhi Maiam in the state of Tamil Nadu. His first public meeting was held in Madurai on February 21 2018.
- Sri Reddy alleged that she was ‘used’ by many top filmmakers and actors. From Abhiram Daggubati to Nani, Sri Reddy also accused many Telugu and Tamil actors. She even alleged that former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar has a dirty past.
- In March, two ministers from Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party resigned from the Centre and the party cut ties with BJP citing that latter had failed to provide special status to Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation of Telangana.
- First transgender marriage: Ishan and Surya became the first transgender couple to legally wed on May 10 and thus created history in Kerala. (She the man) Ishan and (He the woman) Surya got married at Mannam club, Trivandrum. More than 500 people showered their blessings. With their families' grace, their struggle and prayers, their dreams came true. Both the families were there for the function.
- Karnataka Assembly election was held on May 12 and results were announced on May 15. Despite being the single largest party with 104 seats, BJP failed to prove majority and CM Yeddyurappa had to step down in two days as Congress (with 78 seats) and JD(S) (with 37 seats) joined hands and formed the government. HD Kumaraswamy of JD(S) became the chief minister.
- Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta unit's Sterlite copper plant was ordered to be closed down by the Tamil Nadu government in May after people started staging protests that resulted in the death of 13 people. However, recently National Green Tribunal ordered reopening of Vedanta plant.
- Mohanlal, who took over as Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) president from Innocent recently, faced severe backlash from political leaders, fans and members of the Kerala film industry for re-instating Dileep. The actor was expelled last year. Defending his decision, Mohanlal said AMMA will always give utmost importance to women and new rules will be framed for them and their security. He said there will be a discussion with the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) members.
- Kevin P Joseph, the 23-year-old youth was brutally butchered by a gang of 13 for falling in love with 20-year-old Neenu from a wealthy family in Kerala in May. Neenu complained against her parents and they were eventually arrested. She is still waiting for justice. In a similar gruesome case, 24-year-old Pranay was hacked to death in front of his wife Amrutha allegedly by her father at Miriyalagudda in Telangana. Pranay was a Dalit and Amrutha's family was against their marriage. Amrutha complained against her parents and got her father Maruthi Rao arrested and is waiting for justice.
- DMK chief M Karunanidhi died on August 7, 2018 at Kauvery Hospital in Chennai after prolonged, age-related illness. He served as CM of Tamil Nadu for almost two decades over five terms between 1969 and 2011.
- Kerala floods: At least 488 people died and 54.11 lakh people in 14 districts of the state were severely affected in Kerala due to the rains and floods this monsoon. Kerala, in August, witnessed its worst floods in this century.
- Singer and dubbing artist Chinmayi Sripada led from the front and pulled the strings together in the #MeToo movement. Chinmayi alleged that lyricist Vairamuthu had tried to misbehave with her during one of the concerts in mid-2000. This led to her being removed from the dubbing union in Tamil, a move that caused a furore across the country.
- Five nuns from a convent in Kottayam Kuravilangadu seminary staged a protest in front of Kochi High Court against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulackal, who was accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016.This may be the first incident in the history of churches where nuns held a public protest, that too against a Bishop.
- Sabarimala: Many protests have been witnessed in Kerala after the Supreme Court verdict on September 28 allowing women of all age groups to enter the shrine. Earlier, around 25 women under the age 50 tried to enter the Sabarimala temple, but none of them reached the Sannidhanam. Most of them returned following the protest of devotees.
- Thalapathy Vijay’s Sarkar was one of the biggest hits in Tamil cinema this year. However, the film had its share of controversies. The government of Tamil Nadu urged the makers to chop out a few scenes from the movie after finding them objectionable. A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against director AR Murugadoss for the scenes in Sarkar, which were later dropped after a court hearing.
- Ananth Kumar, Union minister and senior BJP leader, died at a hospital in Bengaluru on November 12, 2018 after succumbing to lung cancer. He was 59.
- Kannada actor and politician MH Ambareesh died due to lung and kidney infection on November 24, 2018. He was 66. Known as Rebel Star, he had acted in over 200 films.
- Ahead of Telangana elections, Congress joined hands with Telugu Desam Party in Telangana along with CPI and Telugu Jana Party and formed Praja Kutami (People's Front) to fight Telugu Rashtra Samithi. Kutami leaders even requested the Governor to consider Praja Kutami as one party and expressed confidence of massive victory. But the alliance faced a humiliating defeat with all four parties winning just 21 seats in 119 assembly constituencies.
- K Chandrasekhar Rao's Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) registered a massive victory with 88 seats as the party defeated Congress-led Praja Kutami (alliance of Congress, TDP, CPI and TJS parties) that together secured only 21 seats. AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi too won seven seats.
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Last Updated Dec 31, 2018, 7:12 PM IST