Backroom parleys on to break Vizhinjam impasse

The circular said it is not necessary to stop the port permanently, but the construction works have to be stopped to hold a study on the impact of the port project on the coastline.

Updated - December 05, 2022 11:21 am IST

Published - December 05, 2022 12:16 am IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Protestors led by the Latin Archdiocese lay seige to the port and the sea at Vizhinjam on the one hundredth day of protest against the Vizhinjam port project, near Thiruvananthapuram.

Protestors led by the Latin Archdiocese lay seige to the port and the sea at Vizhinjam on the one hundredth day of protest against the Vizhinjam port project, near Thiruvananthapuram. | Photo Credit: MAHINSHA S

Though the State government is favourable to deploying central forces at the construction site of the Vizhinjam International Seaport port, efforts are on to find an amicable solution to the Vizhinjam issue through a series of backroom negotiations.

A day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a one-to-one meeting with Baselios Mar Cleemis, Major Archbishop of Syro Malankara Catholic Church, as part of reaching out to protesters, CPI(M) Thiruvananthapuram district secretary Anavoor Nagappan on Sunday visited Thomas J. Netto, Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram.

Sources close to the government said the talks with Baselios Mar Cleemis were more hopeful. The State government may not pursue the cases registered in connection with the violence unleashed by the protesters last week if the Latin church agrees to soften its stance on the port issue.

Similarly, the State government is also likely to agree to their demand to include their representative into the panel formed to study the impact of the port project on the coastline if they are ready to withdraw from the strike.

Even as speculation about a possible thaw in a frozen relationship between protesters and the State government is doing the rounds, a circular read out in the churches under the Latin Archdiocese, Thiruvananthapuram, on Sunday has some signs of soothing the frayed nerves with the circular softening its aggressive language and climbing down from its previous adamant positions.

The circular explaining the circumstances that led to the violence at Vizhinjam blamed the provocations of some for the violent incidents at Vizhinjam.

Depicting those who led the struggle for survival as traitors and terrorists, had also sparked outrage. However, the circular said it is not necessary to stop the port permanently, but the construction works have to be stopped to hold a study on the impact of the port project on the coastline.

This is a major climbdown from its previous aggressive position. The circular also alleged that protesters including women were brutally beaten by the police.

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