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Vizhinjam port protest: Adani Group demanded deployment of central forces not the state, clarifies Kerala minister


Kerala Transport Minister Antony Raju has said that Adani Group approached the Kerala High Court requesting the security cover of central forces in its port construction site in Vizhinjam. He also further clarified that the state government did not seek the deployment of central forces to restore peace in Vizhinjam.

“It was not the state government that asked for central forces. The state government need not oppose Adani’s demand for central forces.

“Adani Group approached the High Court requesting the security cover of central forces in its port construction site,” the minister said while addressing the reporters and also added that the government should not oppose Adani Group’s demand.

Also Read: Adani Group to remodel Dharavi: All about the 20,000-cr long-delayed project

The Adani Group on 2 December had moved the Kerala HC seeking the assistance of central forces to continue with construction at the Vizhinjam seaport in Thiruvananthapuram which was marred by violent protests, after which, the Left government submitted before the Kerala HC that it does not have any objection in deploying Central security forces at the under-construction Vizhinjam seaport.

While hitting out at the opposition of the state, Antony Raju said, “The opposition is trying to take political advantage from the protests at Vizhinjam. The opposition is trying to hijack the protest.”

Also Read: Adani Group to infuse 60,000 cr in Odisha in next 10 years

He also said that no minister called the protesters “terrorists” and the government has left the door open for discussion.

Why are fishermen protesting

Kerala’s ambitious Vizhinjam port project, led by the Adani group, is caught in protests and violence. The transshipment container terminal promises to reduce logistics costs and make manufacturing competitive.

The fishermen have been protesting against the Adani port project, alleging that it was not a natural port and that if one goes inside, they can witness huge sand dunes dredged from the sea piled up.

Adani Group, led by Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani, and the Kerala government, which is shouldering two-thirds of the project cost with the federal government, have denied such accusations. Clashes between police and protesters last weekend injured more than 100 people, including 64 police.

Adani wants to complete the first phase of construction by December 2024, but Devarkovil said his government was hopeful of getting the first vessel to the port by September next year, even as construction continues. It wants to make up for lost time by deploying workers to work extra hours and putting more industrial equipment to use.

Meanwhile, Kerala Minister for Local Self Governments MB Rajesh on Friday termed the “terrorist” remark by Father Theodacious D’Cruz against Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman as an “act of terrorism.”

“Saying that there is a terrorist in the name of the minister is an act of terrorism. Extremists usually make such remarks. There is extremism behind such remarks,” MB Rajesh said.

Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman had called the protestors Anti National on which, Father D’Cruz reacted saying, “He (Minister V Abdurahiman) is the biggest traitor in the world. We thought he was the minister of fishermen. There is a terrorist in his name. Those who do not know how to hoist the national flag are calling us traitors.”

However, on Thursday, the Kerala Police booked the convenor of the Fishermen’s protest (Father D’Cruz) outside the Vizhinjam seaport

Notably, in a press release dated Wednesday, Father D’Cruz apologised for his remark and withdrew the comments terming them a “slip of tongue”. He expressed his regret and said that it was a natural response to the minister’s statement.

(With inputs from agencies)

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