The simmering controversy over the instigation of protests against the LPG import terminal at Puthuvype has escalated into a full-blown fire storm with State Police Chief (SPC) T.P Senkumar confirming an extremist link to the episode.
“Of course there is (the presence of some extremist elements behind these protests). Because, there are people from outside among these protesters,” Mr. Senkumar said in reply to a query if any extremist organisation was involved in the strike. The SPC was speaking to mediapersons here on Tuesday after meeting top police officers in Ernakulam on the Puthyvype issue.
The confirmation from the top cop came a day after A.V. George, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulum Rural, had made a similar remark.
Regarding the indiscriminate lathicharging of protesters at the High Court Junction on June 16, Mr. Sen Kumar gave a clean chit to Yatish Chandra G.H., Deputy Commissioner of Police, who led the police action.
“There was no prior intimation of any such protest and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s motorcade was slated to pass through the route within the next 24 hours. Moreover, the VVIP visit was carried out under the cloud of a terror threat, which could not have been disclosed at that time. The action by the DCP should be viewed against the backdrop of these developments,’’ Mr. Sen Kumar explained.
The SPC, however, refused to elaborate further on the terror threat to Mr. Modi during his visit here to inaugurate the Kochi metro, but confirmed the presence of a terror module here.
Noting that the DCP was not part of the police team, which had clashed with the protesters at Puthuvype, the SPC also reiterated that the police had a clear mandate to give adequate security to the proposed project. He also lashed out at the media, saying that the visuals of the agitations at the project site and the High Court were clipped together and aired.
During the meeting, the SPC examined video footages of the clashes between the police and the protesters and held consultations with senior officials, including the City police Commissioner and Rural SP .
Official sources said P. Vijayan, Inspector General of Police, Kochi Range has sought a report, from the Commisioner of Police, Kochi city, and Rural SP on the allegations of outside intervention in the Puthuvype protests and attempts to sabotage the IOC project.