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Amid Vizhinjam protests, Kerala tells HC: No objection to deployment of central forces

Referring to last week’s violence at Vizhinjam, the Adani Group Friday alleged reluctance by the state police to arrest those behind it.

A police officer walks past rubble after a clash with protesters at a police station near the proposed Vizhinjam Port in Kerala. (Reuters/File)

The Kerala government Friday told the High Court that it has no objection to deploying central forces at the site of the Adani Group’s Vizhinjam port, where construction has been suspended for more than three months owing to protests by fisherfolk.

The state made the submission before the Bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman, which was hearing a contempt petition filed by the Adani Group against the state government for its alleged failure to comply with an earlier directive to provide police protection.

The court had pulled up the state government multiple times over the issue.

Referring to last week’s violence at Vizhinjam, the Adani Group Friday alleged reluctance by the state police to arrest those behind it. The promoter of the port said the state government may have reasons to not enforce the court directive and that the situation called for the deployment of central forces.

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The state then submitted that it has no objection to deploying central forces in the project area. It said that the law and order outside the project area will be taken care of by the state police.

Following this, the court directed the government to get instructions from the Union government and submit its response by next Wednesday. The state, too, said it would speak with the Union government on the deployment of central forces.

Fisherfolk protesting against the construction of the port clashed with police and vandalised a police station Sunday. A case was also registered against 3,000 ‘identifiable persons’.

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The attack on the police station and subsequent clashes had left 36 policemen and around 20 fishermen injured.

Earlier, the state government filed an affidavit in the court that cases were registered against the instigators as well as the perpetrators of last week’s violence at Vizhinjam. The government also submitted that it is impossible for the police to remove the tent of the agitators without resorting to firing. The government informed the court that the police were trying to proceed against those involved in last week’s violence, but unwanted haste has to be avoided as such a step would end up in firing.

It was on September 1 that the bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman had directed the state government to provide police protection to the Vizhinjam project. The court had directed police to give protection for providing free ingress and egress for carrying out the necessary activities in connection with the project.

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Since then, there have been several directions from the court to the state government to provide police protection for the firm to resume the construction.

First published on: 02-12-2022 at 16:29 IST
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