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Kerala Law Minister questions 'protest' happening at 'final stage' of Vizhinjam port construction

Kochi: Kerala Minister for Law and Industries P Rajeev on Monday questioned the protest that erupted in Thiruvananthapuram on the previous night and asked how the plan to stop the project at its final stage came about.
"Of the seven demand (including the implementation of a rehabilitation package announced by the State government and extending it to the affected families) except to stop the construction work at the port, all were accepted. No one has been evicted for this project. Then, how come the plan to stop it at the last stage came?" P Rajeev underlined during a conversation with the media persons after the last night's incident of violent protest at Vizhinjam police station came to light. This protest was led by the protestors opposing the Adani port project, demanding the release of the ones arrested on Sunday night. However, earlier in the day, the police released four of the five protesters arrested by the Vizhinjam police for allegedly blocking trucks in Thiruvananthapuram which led to a scuffle.
"77 per cent of the country's exports depend on the Colombo port. But the Vizhinjam port itself can do this which will be of great help to India's economy," Kerala Law Minister said further in support of the port construction.
In the conversation with media persons here, P Rajeev claimed that it was 'not a usual' atmosphere of conflict, as a priest had called for burning down a police station.
"Yesterday was not a typical atmosphere of conflict. It was shown in the media that some priests called for burning down the police station. This is not the way to approach this problem. The government has tried to solve this problem through negotiations," he said mentioning that the confrontation is not the approach of the government.
He further appreciated the police's approach to combating the situation and added: "Even as many deliberately tried to create trouble, the police controlled the situation with unusual restraint. There are many with the interest that there should be no development here, but the government is not ready to compromise and is handling the matter with equanimity."
On Sunday, the police said that they had booked Arch Bishop Thomas J Netto, Auxiliary Bishop Christuraj and the priests on several charges including conspiracy, incitement to violence and attempt to murder.
A case was also registered against protesters supporting the port project, the police said.
In September, the Kerala region of the Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) launched a 'Janabodhana Yatra' from Moolambilly in Ernakulam district to Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram as a part of a solidarity protest against the fishermen, who are holding protests at Vizhinjam against the Adani port project.
The churches of Kochi also extended their support to the fishermen, with priests and clergymen forming a human chain with the support of locals spread over 17.5 km.
Amid the said fishermen's protests, the Kerala High Court on August 26 directed the Kerala Police to ensure the maintenance of law and order at the construction site of Vizhinjam International Seaport.
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.
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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