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Kerala HC orders police protection to Adani Ports in Vizhinjam amid fishermen protest

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed police protection to the employees and workmen of M/S Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd, its contracting company, Howe Engineering Construction, and also for the free ingress and egress to the construction site.
The direction has been allowed amid the ongoing protests by fishermen at Vizhinjam in the Thiruvananthapuram district. The direction came while the Court was considering the petitions of Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt Ltd and its contracting company Howe Engineering Projects seeking protection for their employees and property from those protesting against the project.
A single bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman considered the petition.

The Court also directed, "in the event of any failure to provide the necessary protection, instructions could be obtained in this regard from the Central Government. No doubt that the Right To Protest or Agitate cannot mean that there is any right to obstruct or cause damage to the project. The public protest could go on without obstructing the project with all legal permissions."
The petitioners contended, that "the project was prestigious and had all the requisite clearances, and there was no requirement for the same to be stalled. On August 19, the agitators allegedly breached the barricades installed by the Police and hundreds of them entered the project site, a High-Security Zone. No effective protection was granted and the police remained a mute spectator."
Amid the said fishermen's protests, the HC on August 26 directed the Kerala Police to ensure the maintenance of law and order at the construction site of Vizhinjam International Seaport.

While directing this to the police, the Court observed that no private person should take the legal machinery into their hands.
The fishermen's protest was agitated after their All-party meeting with the government failed as their demands were not met.
The Secretary of the committee spearheading the protest, Fr Theodeashius Dcruz had told mediapersons that they wanted the construction of the port to be stopped immediately.

"We want the construction of the port to be stopped immediately and initiate a study on an emergency basis which includes scientists and experts from the coastal areas and not agencies like INCOIS which has been brought by the Adani group," Dcruz had said mentioning that they (protesting fishermen) did not trust them as "they haven't understood the real issues".
Dcruz had further underscored that it was not a natural port and if one goes inside, they can witness huge sand dunes dredged from the sea piled up.
He mentioned that the lives of 50,000 fishermen were at stake and they will continue the protest until the construction is stopped. (ANI)

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