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Vizhinjam protest: CM makes a scathing attack on Latin Church

He inaugurates distribution of aid to families affected by coastal erosion

September 05, 2022 10:06 pm | Updated September 06, 2022 02:02 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Thomas J. Netto, Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, former Archbishop Soosa Pakiam M. and others stage a fast in front of the Vizhinjam port on Monday.

Thomas J. Netto, Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, former Archbishop Soosa Pakiam M. and others stage a fast in front of the Vizhinjam port on Monday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Expressing strong disapproval against the long-drawn protests by fishermen against the Vizhinjam International Seaport, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday made a scathing attack on the Latin Archdiocese, Thiruvananthapuram, which is spearheading the agitation of the fisherfolk.

Speaking after inaugurating the distribution of financial assistance to families affected by coastal erosion in Thiruvananthapuram, Mr. Vijayan said some thought that the government was a puppet in the hands of a few.

In an apparent reply to the campaign of the Latin Archdiocese, which urged the fisherfolk to boycott the function organised by the Chief Minister saying that the financial assistance announced for the fishermen was insufficient to meet the expense, Mr. Vijayan said the people of the State had always stood with the State government. The fishermen’s participation in the function, despite the campaign against the government, underscored this fact. Some had asked the fishermen to stay away from the function saying that it was a plot by the government to cheat the fishermen, he said.

‘No tradition of cheating’

“Only those who have a habit of cheating others can campaign in such a way. We do not have a tradition of cheating anyone. Only those things which could be implemented would be announced by the government and whatever was announced would be implemented at any cost,” said Mr. Vijayan.

He said it was not right to say further by sitting in the position of a Chief Minister. The issues faced by the fishermen were seen as an issue of the State, he added.

A scheme to pay a rent of ₹5,500 each to 284 families staying in relief camps was inaugurated at the function. A total of 102 families were given financial assistance in the first phase.

Indefinite fast

Meanwhile, as part of exerting pressure on the State government to reach a consensus on the demands raised by the fishermen, Thomas J. Netto, Archbishop of the Latin Archdiocese of Thiruvananthapuram, former Archbishop Soosa Pakiam M. and others launched an indefinite fast in front of the Vizhinjam port on Monday.

The fishermen took out a protest march to the venue ahead of the fast. Hundreds of fishermen, including women, participated in the protest programme.

Meeting held

The State government convened a ministerial-level meeting with the protesters on Monday night as part of reaching a consensus on the demands. During the meeting, the Church appraised its displeasure over the Chief Minister’s remarks against the Church.

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