CPI(M) hardens its stance against Vizhinjam Action Council

State likely to initiate prosecution measures against those involved in Vizhinjam police station attack

Published - December 02, 2022 08:55 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Stringent prosecution of Latin Catholic Church-backed Vizhinjam Action Council (VAC) activists alleged to be responsible for the storming of the local police station last Sunday seemed imminent.

As many as 35 law enforcers were injured, and public property vandalised in the mob attack.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] State secretary M.V. Govindan gave an early indication of the impending police action by stating that law enforcers had identified the persons at the forefront of the “insurrection” and arrests would follow.

Mr. Govindan said the law applied equally to all. It was of no legal consequence if those responsible for the lethal police station attack included the top clergy. “Individuals, A or B, are of no significance,” he said.

Notably, the suspects included Latin Catholic Archbishop Thomas J. Netto and VAC convener Fr. Theodacious D’Cruz.

Notices to be served

A senior official indicated that the police might start serving notices to the suspects. Raids on religious centres, homes or fish landing sites were unlikely. The government was loath to according the VAC political momentum by helping it play the victim.

Side by side, the government, in a bid to take the State police out of the fraught situation, told the Kerala High Court that it was not averse to Central forces providing security to the project site.

Mr. Govindan said there was no need to read new meanings into the government’s stance. Central forces already protected key installations. However, law and order remained the State’s jurisdiction.

Mr. Govindan said the police station attack was not a peaceful protest that got out of hand. The plotters wanted to precipitate a police firing to unleash anarchy with perilous communal overtones.

He said the plotters also aspired to advantage foreign lobbyists opposed to the port. The State government was not opposed to a Central probe into the international conspiracy angle.

Mr. Govindan said the political aim of the plotters coalesced with those of the Congress and the BJP. Both parties wanted the Left Democratic Front government dismissed, as manifested in the recent statements of the BJP and Congress State presidents.

Meanwhile, the stand-off between the CPI(M) and the Church over Vizhinjam port showed scarce signs of abating.

VAC general convener Fr. Eugene Periera accused the police of launching a witch-hunt. The very perpetrators of the attack were playing victims.

The police had provoked the violence at the behest of the State government. Now, the administration has sought the help of Xentral forces to crush an agitation by fishers to protect their dwellings and livelihood.

CPI(M) district secretary Anavoor Nagappan accused a member of the clergy of mustering women to blockade General Education Minister V. Sivankutty and Transport Minister Antony Raju at a function in coastal Poonthura.

Meanwhile, the police remained deployed in strength in the communally sensitive localities where two groups of residents were at loggerheads over the port’s completion.

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