Kerala: Latin Catholic archbishop, clergymen booked for 'violence' during protest against Adani port
While Archbishop of the Latin Catholic Diocese, Thomas J Netto has been named as the first accused, Auxiliary bishop Christudas and Vicar General Eugene Pereria have also been named in the FIR.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police have charged several church leaders in connection with the clashes on Saturday between the Latin Catholic church-led Vizhinjam agitation committee, who are against the construction of Vizhinjam port by Adani group, and the People Collective of Mulloor, who are in favour of the port project.
While Archbishop of the Latin Catholic Diocese, Thomas J Netto has been named as the first accused, Auxiliary bishop Christudas and Vicar General Eugene Pereria have also been named in the FIR related to the violence. The Vizhinjam police have registered 10 cases in total on the violence that had rocked Vizhinjam on Saturday. Of these nine cases were related to the street violence between the two groups, while the other case was related to flouting of the High Court ruling and creating trouble in the high-security area.
The archbishop and the auxiliary bishop were named accused in three cases. They have been charged for conspiracy, inciting people for violence and rioting. As many as 50 priests of the Latin church have also been named as accused. The police also have identified about 30 vehicles that ferried protestors to the spot. The Vicar General, who was present at the protest site, was charged for attempt to murder.
The church understandably was miffed with the police action and said instead of registering cases against the ones who had conspired to create violence, the police were targetting the Latin Catholic clergy to weaken the protests.
The clash erupted on Saturday after Adani Group attempted to resume construction work by bringing construction materials, including granite, to the port site in trucks. The group had written to the state government on resuming the construction work on Saturday.
The vehicles were brought to the site after the Vizhinjam agitation committee promised the High Court on Tuesday that they would not stop them. The court had also recorded the promise of the agitation committee.
However, a large group of people assembled at the port site and blocked 27 trucks from 10am. A few protesters also lay down in front of the trucks. Soon, Mulloor residents reached the site and they had a heated argument with the protesters. It later snowballed into a scuffle, with the agitators pelting stones at local residents even after the police and a few priests tried to calm them down. The protesters also chased away local people and pelted stones at a truck, and its windowpane got damaged.