The Kerala High Court Monday directed the State Government to submit a report on the steps it had taken regarding the violent incidents at Vizhinjam, where fishermen have been protesting against Adani Group’s Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited.
Earlier in the day, the Kerala Police booked 3000 people in connection with the fishermen’s attack on the police station at Vizhinjam Sunday night during which 36 policemen and around 20 protesters were injured. The police said in the First Information Report (FIR) the protesters wanted to release the five men taken into custody over Saturday’s violence and also threatened to torch the policemen alive if they were not released.
The bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman made the direction to Kerala while considering a contempt petition filed by the Adani Group against the State Government for its failure to comply with an earlier directive to provide police protection for the company to resume the construction, which had been suspended for over three months.
Though the State Government sought more time to file an affidavit regarding the action taken by it, the high court refused the request and posted the matter on Friday.
The high court asked the Government why the police were not arresting the instigators. It also said not only agitators but instigators are also liable for the damages. On the government action, the court said it is not about reports or filing of FIRs.
The State Government then told the court it was filing a report regarding the steps taken. “It is not about report or filing of FIRs, orders of the court are being flouted. The court wants to know what are the steps taken by the government,” the court said.
When the court was told that the police are incapable of averting the impasse, the government counsel submitted that the same situation would have arisen even if central forces were deployed.
The fishermen have been protesting against the Rs 7,500-crore port for the last four months. They have alleged its construction caused massive sea erosion, leading to loss of livelihood and dwellings.