Protesters storm police station; 25 cops hurt

Vizhinjam agitators resort to violent intimidation, refuse to allow way for ambulances to shift injured personnel
A police vehicle that was damaged in Sunday’s violence in Vizhinjam. (Photo | EPS)
A police vehicle that was damaged in Sunday’s violence in Vizhinjam. (Photo | EPS)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Anti-seaport project agitators attacked the Vizhinjam police station on Sunday, injuring over 25 police personnel. They were demanding the release of five of their fellow protesters detained in connection with the previous day’s violence. Earlier in the day, the government hardened its stand against the protesters and booked Latin Church priests, including Archbishop Thomas J Netto.

Netto is named the first accused in a case related to conspiracy and instigating violence. Sources said police arrested a man, Shelton, for allegedly being part of the violence on Saturday. Four others from the agitation committee, who went to the station to get him released, were also arrested. The police said they too were part of the mob that unleashed violence.

As news spread, hundreds of men and women from nearby fishing hamlets surrounded the station demanding their release. They damaged two police vehicles and injured several officers, before laying siege to the station. They blocked police reinforcements for hours and prevented ambulances from shifting injured officers to hospitals.

A source said even plainclothesmen were not able to operate as police personnel were surrounded by the agitators. A cameraman associated with a local TV channel was injured by the protesters.

10 cases registered

T’Puram: Police fired three rounds of tear gas shells to control the mob. The authorities also mobilized forces from the city and rural limits. The district collector has ordered the closure of liquor outlets in Vizhinjam police station limits for seven days.

Besides Netto, Auxiliary bishop Christudas and Vicar General Eugene Pereira were among 50 priests of the Latin Church named as accused in different cases related to the violence. The police registered 10 cases in total. Netto and Christudas were named accused in three cases. Pereira, who was present at the protest site during Saturday’s violence, was charged with an attempt to murder.

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The New Indian Express