Kerala police attacked over Adani port protest, cases filed against 3,000

Fisherfolk and citizens use their fishing boats to lay siege to Adani port during their protest against the Adani Group’s port development project at Vizhinjam. (File photo)

  • The protesters say the port’s development had caused coastal erosion and deprived them of their livelihoods
  • For the last three months construction work had stopped as protestors, said to be led by mostly Catholic priests
  • At least 15 Latin Catholic priests are reportedly among over 100 people booked in multiple FIRs

In a serious development, thousands of people in Kerala allegedly attacked a police station, demanding release of those held for protest against the Adani port. The state police have charged more than 3,000 people with unlawful assembly, rioting, and criminal conspiracy charges on Monday.

As many as 40 police personnel and numerous locals were reported to be injured in the violence that ensued. “The mob reached the police station at around 6 PM with iron rods, sticks, stones and bricks and created a hostage situation inside the police station…They threatened to set the police station ablaze if the accused were not released…They damaged five police vehicles and destroyed the office equipment inside the police station,” the FIR said. “We had already deployed enough police personnel. Attack on the police station cannot be justified. The people reached the station demanding to release one person who was charged under Section 307 of the IPC,” the Commissioner said. The FIR says there was a loss of around ₹ 85 lakh due to the attack.

The violent mob attacked the Vizhinjam police station, situated 20 km away from capital Thiruvananthapuram, as part of the ongoing protest against the under-construction Adani port.  The protestors had on Saturday allegedly blocked trucks carrying construction material to the port project site, being developed by the Adani group. Work had resumed after a court directive last week reportedly gave the go-ahead to constructing the $900 million dollar trans-shipment project, reported NDTV.

Following protest, the construction work at the facility was stopped. The protest is said to be led by mostly Catholic priests who had reportedly erected a large shelter blocking its entrance, saying the port’s development had caused coastal erosion and deprived them of their livelihoods. Fisherfolk and priests, including the archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Trivandum have been charged with attempt to murder, rioting, trespass, criminal conspiracy and obstructing public servants from carrying, according to PTI. At least 15 Latin Catholic priests are reportedly among over 100 people booked in multiple FIRs.

According to report, as many as 25 trucks carrying rocks to the project site were forced to go away and another 25 trucks, at the project site, were not allowed to leave the premises. It triggered counter protest by supporters of the seaport, leading to violent clashes including stone-throwing in which several people including many policemen reportedly suffered injuries.

 

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