Adani port protest: Over 3k people booked in Kerala for rioting

The Kerala High Court was informed by the state government that steps will be taken to recover the loss suffered due to the violent protest and attack over the Vizhinjam seaport incident from the protesters.

Thiruvananthapuram: Over 3,000 persons have been booked under unlawful assembly, rioting and criminal conspiracy charges on Monday in connection with the violent attack on the Vizhinjam police station last night as part of the ongoing protest against the under-construction Adani port.

In the FIR, police have registered a case against 3,000 identifiable persons including women and children for vandalising the station and injuring police personnel. As many as 40 police personnel and numerous locals were reported to be injured in the violence that ensued.

Police said around 3,000 people gathered at the Vizhinjam police station demanding the release of one accused in a case registered on Saturday and other suspects, Leo Stanley, Muthappan, Pushparaj and Shanki, who were under custody.

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“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.

It also states that there was a loss of around Rs 85 lakh due to the attack. Sections of IPC including 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 447 (criminal trespass) and 353 (assault on public servant) have been invoked.

Meanwhile, Thiruvananthapuram City Police Commissioner told the media that the attack on the police station cannot be justified at all. “We had already deployed enough police personnel. The people reached the station demanding to release one person who was charged under Section 307 of the IPC,” the Commissioner said.

The district administration has called an all-party meeting Monday to solve the issue.

Meanwhile, the four persons who were taken into custody were released on station bail after recording their arrest. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), M R Ajith Kumar, had told the media that around 36 police officers were admitted to various hospitals of the city after getting injured in the attack by the mob which vandalised the police station on Sunday.

“A mob gathered at the police station in the evening and demanded the release of a few persons who were arrested in another case. They vandalised the police station and attacked the officers. An SI has received an open fracture on his leg. It seems like he was hit by a brick,” Kumar had told the media.

The mob targeted the police station using sticks and bricks and attacked police officers after a person was arrested and a few others were taken into custody in connection with the violent protests on November 26.

Considering the sensitive situation prevailing in the area, the Kerala government has deployed more police officials from the other districts also.

The agitators also attacked media persons who were present at the site. The cameraperson of a local channel Sherif M John was attacked by the protesters, who damaged his camera and snatched his cell phone. He was admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.

On Sunday, the state police lodged an FIR against at least 15 Latin Catholic priests, including metropolitan Archbishop Thomas J Netto and Perera, over the violence at Vizhinjam on Saturday. Following this, police arrested one person and took into custody four others. The mob gathered and attacked the police station on Sunday seeking their release.

Television channels aired visuals of the vandalised Vizhinjam police station as well as overturned vehicles, including a police van and jeeps. Security has been tightened in the Vizhinjam region.

Will recover loss suffered: Kerala govt tells HC

The Kerala High Court was informed by the state government on Monday that steps will be taken to recover the loss suffered due to the violent protest and attack over the Vizhinjam seaport incident from the protesters.

Justice Anu Sivaraman, who was hearing a plea filed by the Adani Group against obstruction and blockade due to protests, said stern action should be taken in the matter.

The court directed the government to file a detailed report on the steps taken by it against the violence and posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.

Meanwhile, Adani Group informed the court that the trucks carrying construction materials were blocked by the protesters despite court orders.

The court asked the government to take all possible steps to ensure law and order in the region.

The court had multiple times asked the protesters not to block the road to the port premises and asked the government to remove the shed erected by the agitators as part of their protests.

However, the government had on November 7 told the court that it was unable to demolish the protest tents at the port due to the presence of children, pregnant women and aged people among the agitators.

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