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Tension Rises At Vizhinjam: 30 Policemen Injured In Protestors Violence, Police Books 3,000 Anti-Seaport Supporters

The anti-seaport protesters charged to the Vizhinjam police station on November 27 after the cops detained five of their members. The violent clash left over 30 policemen critically injured and ₹85 Lakh worth public property damaged.

It would be a crucial day for the Vizhinjam port protest after the violent clash that unfurled on November 27. Around 30 policemen were seriously injured after the protesters charged to the station and attacked the personnel for detaining their members. Following this, increased police forces have been deployed around the site, and cases have been registered against 3,000 protestors, who are yet to be identified.

The cases were registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections related to rioting, attempt to murder, and destruction of public property. According to the First Investigation Report (FIR), the protesters have vandalised public property worth ₹85 lakhs. While the police haven't made any arrests so far, they have assured that necessary action will be taken against the violators.

Protests Taking A Violent Turn

The Vizhinjam Police Station had come under siege on November 27 after the cops had arrested five protesters in connection with the instigation of violence before the Vizhinjam port entrance on November 26. Protestors from the nearby fishing villages charged to the station in large numbers and attacked the personnel and public property. As many as 30 policemen sustained injuries in the attacks, and about five police vehicles and 20 bikes parked in the region were damaged.

For hours, the protestors continued to block reinforcements and ambulance services from reaching the injured. Even the people in civil clothes were not allowed to operate as the protestors waged their attacks. In the process, a cameraman and reporter associated with a local broadcast channel also sustained injuries.

Police officials had to burst a series of tear gas shells to contain and clear out the mob. The police officers were then taken to the hospitals, and many, including the sub-inspectors, had to undergo emergency surgeries at private hospitals. In the wake of the events, the authorities had to mobilise more forces and deploy a rapid response force from the neighbouring districts and police camps.

Four Protestors Released, One Remanded To Custody

The entire incident broke out after the state government stood its ground against the protestors' demand and booked the Latin Church priests, including metropolitan archbishop Thomas J Netto, Auxiliary bishop Christudas, and Vicar General Eugene Pereira, for conspiracy and instigating violence. The state had named 50 priests as accused in ten different cases related to the protests. Those arrested on November 27 were repeatedly named in three cases and were arrested during Saturday's violence under the charges of attempt to murder.

Meanwhile, the Latin Church is considering filing an appeal against the High Court order permitting port works, and the state government is pondering taking the agitators to court for the losses incurred during the protest. State Transport Minister Antony Raju warned the protesters against trying to break the peace and stated, "In no other protest have the government and police exercised self-restraint to this extent. This should not be seen as frailty."

According to a report by the New Indian Express negotiations have taken place between the church leaders and the police officials, and four of the five detained have been released on station bail. One person named Shelton has been remanded to judicial custody.

Also Read: Black Flags Against Vizhinjam Project, Kerala Fishermen Hold Protests; Here's Why

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