FIR Against Agitating Church Priests Over Adani Port

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FIR Against Agitating Church Priests Over Adani Port

| Updated: November 27, 2022 18:38

Against the guarantees given to the Kerala High Court, agitated Church priests and fishermen started protesting at the under-construction site of Vizhinjam seaport. They are restricting the entry of trucks carrying construction materials.

The protest was led by the Latin Catholic Church, and on November 22 assured the Kerala High Court not to block any vehicles going towards the construction site. Local supporters of the seaport project came out opposing the protesters. This led to a minor tussle among them.

“During the protest, there was a minor scuffle too. Now, we have registered nine cases against the protesters and those who oppose the protest at Vizhinjam,” a senior police official said. The police said that there are cases against a few church priests.

Simultaneously, Father Eugine Perera accused the government of not providing an alternative restoration to the coastal community. “The government which is not ready to properly rehabilitate us is not threatening us with police cases. We will not back down. Tomorrow, the government will move against us in court,” Perera told the media.

He pointed out that the dissenters will file an appeal against the court’s order on miscellaneous matters associated with the Vizhinjam protest. Previously, the government had arranged a meeting with the protesters but they chose not to participate. On the other hand, the high court warned the protesters not to block the construction work.

The port, a project of the Keralan government, is now being built using a landlord model with a portion of a PPP on a design, build, finance, operate, and transfer foundation. The construction was started on December 5, 2015, by the private partner, Adani Vizhinjam Port Private Limited, for a sum of Rs 7,525 crore. Authorities for the Vizhinjam International Transhipment Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport had previously stated that 70% of the work had been finished.

Before this, the state government had made it plain that practically all of the demonstrators’ requests had been satisfied, except for stopping the port’s construction. The high court has repeatedly ordered the administration to take down the shed that the agitators erected as part of their protests and asked the demonstrators not to block the entrance to the harbour.

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