The Kerala Police today booked the organizer of the fishermen’s protest outside the Vizhinjam seaport in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram.
The Vizhinjam police have booked Father Theodacies D’Cruz under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on religious grounds and provocation with intent to cause disorder with his comment against State Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman.
According to the first information report, Father D’Cruz made certain statements that were intended to create tension between the Christian and Muslim communities through his statement against the minister.
“He (Minister V. Abdurahiman) is the biggest traitor in the world. We thought he was the Minister of Fishermen. He has a terrorist in his name. Those who do not know how to raise the national flag are calling us traitors,” D. Cruz said in response to the fisheries minister’s remark on Tuesday that he called the protesters “anti-national”.
At a seminar organized by Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, Minister Abdurahiman termed the protest against the Adani port project as “anti-national” and said any country-loving person cannot accept such a protest.
Some Muslim organizations demanded that the father retract his testimony and file a lawsuit against him.
However, in a press release on Wednesday, Father D’Cruz apologized for his remark and retracted the comments.
Terming his remarks as “bullshit”, D’Cruz expressed regret and said it was a natural response to the minister’s statement.
“I withdraw my comment and express regret. It was a natural response to the minister’s statement against the protesters. It was a slip,” the press release said.
Fishermen are protesting to oppose the Adani Port project, claiming that it is not a natural port and that if one goes inside, one can see huge sand dunes carved out by the sea, piled up.
On Sunday, the fishermen’s protest turned violent and the Vizhinjam police arrested five protesters for allegedly blocking trucks in Thiruvananthapuram, leading to a brawl. However, four of the five protesters were later released.
The Vizhinjam police on Sunday said they have registered cases against the archbishop and auxiliary bishop of Thiruvananthapuram and several priests for allegedly blocking trucks leading to a brawl.
These trucks were carrying some material for the construction of Vizhinjam Port by Adani Group.
The alleged scuffle took place when a group of people protesting the construction of the Vizhinjam port blocked these vehicles and another group in support of the port project opposed them.
On Sunday, Archbishop Thomas Jay Neto, Auxiliary Bishop Christuraj and the priests were indicted on several charges, including conspiracy, incitement to violence and attempted murder.
A case has also been filed against protesters supporting the port project, the police said.
In September, the Kerala Region of the Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC) launched the ‘Janabodhana Yatra’ from Mullambili in Ernakulam district to Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram as part of a solidarity protest against the fishermen who are protesting in Vizhinjam against the Adani port project.
Churches of Kochi have also extended their support to the fishermen, with priests and clerics forming a living chain with the support of locals spread over 17.5 km.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated channel.)