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Protests erupt after officials stop bid by church to build donation box at Vizhinjam port site

Church officials and the govt had already reached an agreement to relocate the cupola, which the government said was erected in 'purambokku land', for the port project in return for alternative land

Published: 19th August 2021 05:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th August 2021 05:26 PM   |  A+A-

The Lake Police staff have put in earnest efforts to increase the police patrolling at Hussainsagar.

The district administration on Thursday deployed a large contingent of police and prevented people from reaching the spot (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A strong protest emerged in Karimpalikkara and nearby areas on Thursday after the district administration blocked the attempts of church officials and believers to construct a hundika in front of the cupola that fell within the premises of the under-construction Vizhinjam port.

Church officials and the government had already reached an agreement to relocate the cupola, which the government said was erected in 'purambokku land', for the port project in return for alternative land. The government reportedly had scouted land for the same, but did not take any steps to hand over the land, said Kovalam MLA M Vincent. The issue began on Wednesday when a group of people, who came for prayers, began constructing the basement to erect the hundika.

On being alerted, the district administration on Thursday deployed a large contingent of police and prevented people from reaching the spot. The matter soon precipitated into a potential law-and-order issue as the crowd swelled in no time. The City Police Commissioner and District Collector reached the place and tried to reason with the protestors asking them to stop the construction in the 'purambokku land'. However, the agitators did not pay any heed initially.

MLA Vincent said the state government could have easily handled the matter had they relinquished their egos and worked with all the stakeholders. "The church had agreed to hand over the land and relocate the structures provided the government gave them alternate land. The government is yet to do that and that's why this episode took place," he said.

Later, the Collector, City Police Commissioners and church officials held a meeting where it was decided to maintain the status quo till August 26.

Meanwhile, Adani Ports officials said they are not a party to the contention, but added that relocation of the religious structures was imperative for the development of the port.

"We had impressed upon the government to relocate them and the government had agreed to that. But the process is yet to start. We cannot allow the structures to stay there as our boundary wall is coming up in that place," said an Adani Ports official.



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