Latin Catholic archbishop, priests on trial for ‘violence’ during Adani port protest – The New Indian Express | News Bharat

from Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Police have charged several church leaders in connection with Saturday’s clashes between the Latin Catholic Church-led Vizhinjam Agitation Committee, who are against the construction of the Vizhinjam port by the Adani group, and the People Collective of Mulloor, who are in favor of the port project.

While Archbishop of the Latin Catholic Diocese Thomas Jay Neto has been named as the first accused, Auxiliary Bishop Christos and Vicar General Eugene Pereria have also been named in the FIR related to the violence. The Vizhinjam police have registered a total of 10 cases in the violence that rocked Vizhinjam on Saturday. Of these, nine cases are related to street violence between the two groups, while the other case is related to ignoring the Supreme Court order and creating trouble in the high security zone.

The archbishop and auxiliary bishop were named as defendants in three cases. They have been charged with conspiracy, incitement to violence and rioting. About 50 Latin Church priests are also named as defendants. Police have also identified around 30 vehicles that transported the protesters to the venue. The Vicar General, who was present at the scene of the protest, was charged with attempted murder.

The church was understandably irritated by the police’s actions and said that instead of registering cases against those who conspired to create violence, the police were targeting the Latin Catholic clergy to dampen the protests.

The clash erupted on Saturday after the Adani Group tried to resume construction work by bringing construction materials, including granite, to the port site in trucks. The group has written to the state government to resume construction work on Saturday.

The vehicles were brought to the spot after the Vizhinjam agitation committee promised the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it would not stop them. The court had also recorded the campaign committee’s promise.

However, a large group of people gathered at the port site and blocked 27 trucks since 10 am. Several protesters also lay down in front of the trucks. Soon the residents of Mulloor reached the spot and had a heated argument with the protesters. Later turned into a fight, with female agitators pelting stones at local residents even after the police and several priests tried to calm them down. The protesters also chased away local people and pelted stones at a truck whose window was damaged.

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