Protesters clash with police at Puthuvype

A protester who sustained injuries during a police lathi charge at Puthuvype on Sunday.  

The wave of protests against the upcoming LPG import terminal at Puthuvype snowballed into a clash between local residents and the police here on Sunday, injuring several persons, including women and children.

The incident began to unfold in the morning with the protesters, most of them local residents, staging a march to the site where construction works resumed in the morning. The police team, which had been camping in the area on the direction of the District Collector, prevented them from entering the location.

The scene, however, took a violent turn around 10.45 a.m. when some of the protesters allegedly resorted to stone-throwing, causing injuries to several policemen. The police soon resorted to indiscriminate cane-charging and with the crowd still refusing to disperse, they were taken into custody and shifted to the Armed Reserve Police camp at Kalamassery.

The police said those arrested would be booked for rioting and unlawful assembly. Meanwhile, those injured in the clash were taken to the Government Medical College at Kalamassery and the Ernakulam General Hospital.

Local residents claimed that they were staging a peaceful protest but it turned violent as someone purposefully threw stones from the IOC compound. About 30 persons suffered injuries in the police action, while 73 protesters, including 69 women, had been detained.

M.B. Jaya Ghosh, chairman, Puthuvype LPG Terminal Virudha Janakeeya Samara Samiti, said the contractors in connivance with the top IOC officials resumed the work at the project site in violation of an assurance from the State government.

‘‘We were laying siege in front of the project site when stones were thrown on them from inside the terminal. Soon, the police resorted to caning without any provocation," he said.

Citing that the IOC had agreed to defer works on the project till June 21, District Collector Mohammed Y. Safirulla had urged the protesters to withdraw their protest till then. ‘‘Indian Oil Corporation has informed that they have decided to defer the work in the context of a meeting convened by the Chief Minister in Thiruvananthapuram with all stakeholders at 11 a.m on June 21,’’ the Collector said.

Hartal today

Meanwhile, the Congress has called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal at Puthuvype region on Monday in protest against the police action. Meanwhile, the Welfare Party, Aam Admi Party, CPI(ML) Red Star, and Matsya Thozhilali Federation have called for a hartal in Ernakulam district on Monday.

More than 1,000 families residing within one km radius of the IOC project have been protesting since last four months, amidst growing apprehensions that the project would prove to be an environmental hazard and fear of possible blast at the IOC site in future.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:22:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/protesters-clash-with-police-at-puthuvype/article19099139.ece

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