Central forces not needed, police can maintain law & order at Vizhinjam: Minister

Thiruvananthapuram: Ports Minister Ahammed Devarkovil on Sunday reiterated the state government has not requested the Centre to deploy forces at the Vizhinjam port area.

“It is the construction company, Adani Group, that requested their presence, that too for security purposes near the port’s site. Hence, the state government did not see any reason to oppose the request,” said Devarkovil.

As for the law and order situation at Vizhinjam, the minister said Kerala Police was equipped enough to keep things under control.

“The state does not need the help of Central forces to maintain law and order in Vizhinjam,” said Devarkovil.

On Saturday, Minister Antony Raju said the Kerala government has not requested the deployment of Central forces at the Vizhinjam port area. “It is the Adani group that urged the Centre to send security forces. The state government was only asked for its opinion on the matter by the High Court,” said Raju.

He also said the government sees no reason to oppose the request. “The court has directed the state and Centre to jointly make a call in this regard and inform,” he added.

Minister was referring to the query posed by the High Court to the Additional Solicitor General for India to get instructions regarding the deployment of Central forces to maintain security in the port area.

During the hearing on Friday, Justice Anu Sivaraman directed both the State Government and the Central Government to discuss the matter and inform the court regarding the steps taken.

The matter is now listed on Wednesday, December 7.

Fisherfolk led by the Latin Church is protesting against the upcoming Adani Port project at the Vizhinjam coast in the southern tip of Kerala. The fishing community blames the port construction activities for worsening sea erosion that has in turn affected their livelihood and wrecked properties along the shore.

‘CM responsible if Central forces take unwarranted action’

Congress MP K Muraleedharan on Sunday said the chief minister would be held responsible if the Central forces take any unwarranted action in Vizhinjam.

“Central forces cannot be deployed without the state government’s permission. The left government must focus on resolving the issue rather than threatening the agitators with central forces,” he said.

Muraleedharan also said Central forces are usually deployed after the construction of a project is completed. “Deploying forces during construction is unheard of and unnecessary,” he added.

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