Police in India’s Kerala state have filed charges against a Catholic archbishop, his auxiliary, and 48 others in connection with violence during a protest against the construction of an international seaport.
Police and protesters clashed at Vizhinjam police station near the port on November 27, resulting in injuries to more than 50 people, including 36 police personnel.
The mob also ransacked the police station and destroyed equipment and police vehicles parked in the compound.
The protesters came to the station to demand the release of five men detained by the police the previous day for a violent clash in front of the port site. The protestors blocked the entry of dumper trucks with construction materials.
Supporters of the port project accompanied the trucks and threw stones at the protestors.
Authorities charged Archbishop Thomas J Nettor of Trivandrum Latin archdiocese, his auxiliary Bishop R Kristudas, priests, and other protesters.
Father Eugene Pereira, convener of the protest, blamed the communist-led Kerala coalition government and the Adani Group that is constructing the multi-billion dollar seaport project for the violence.
“Archbishop Netto, Bishop Kristudas and many priests and others named in the FIR (First Information Report) were not present at the protest site,” said Father Pereira.
He said the state government and the private firm conspired to provoke the peaceful protestors in an apparent bid to weaken their opposition against the building of the port.
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