Kerala HC Issues Notice To Latin Catholic Priests In Adani Group's Plea For Police Protection For Vizhinjam Port Construction
The Kerala High Court today issued notice on a plea by the Adani Vizhinjam Port Pvt. Ltd. and two of its officers seeking police protection for continuing construction of the Vizhinjam International Seaport Project and from "obstruction and threat" caused by some Latin Catholic Priests and their supporters
The Bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman also directed the Kerala Police to ensure that law and order is maintained at the Vizhinjam International Seaport construction site. The Court has posted the matter to Monday for further hearing.
Protests are happening at the port construction site since around ten days under the leadership of the Latin Arch Diocese of Thiruvananthapuram, claiming to raise some demands on behalf of the fisherman community and nearby residents.
The Petitioners had alleged that protesters are being brought to the construction site by Latin Catholic Parishes. "It is also reliably learnt from source report that most of the agitators organized by Respondents 11 to 25 are not the native people from living in Vizhinjam but from other nearby areas on the basis of different Latin Catholic Parishes", the plea said.
In the plea filed through Advocate Roshen D. Alexander, the Petitioners had contended that they are aggrieved by the "constant and continuous militant threat" espoused under the aegis of Priests and others who were arrayed as Respondents. Fourteen Christian Pastors are arrayed as Respondents in the petition. The plea said that the Kerala Police is standing as a mute spectator and is culpable due to its inaction.
The plea said that the protesters are blocking access to the port which has resulted in stalling the ongoing works in the port. The plea also said that "On 19.08.2022, the agitators breached the barricades installed by the Police and hundreds of them entered the project site which is a High Security Zone" and that no effective protection was granted by the Police.
"..the agitators demonstrated their protest from land and the sea causing serious damage to the properties in the site. The lock of the main gate was broke open. Several mast lights in the port area were destroyed and damaged", the plea said.
As per the plea, the estimated project cost for Phase I of the project is Rs. 5552 Crores which comprises of Rs. 1463 Crores of Funded Work and Rs. 4089 Crores of PPP component.
The Petition prays that if the Kerala Police is unable to afford adequate police protection, then to direct the CRPF and the Union Home Ministry to give protection to the employees and contractors of the Petitioners and to enable continuation of construction activities.