Vizhinjam police station attack: 3,000 persons charged for rioting

Police said the attacks were made by fishermen protesting against the Adani Group’s port project in retaliation to the arrest of five of their comrades on Saturday

Police station attacked
About 40 policemen were injured and several vehicles were damaged during the attack. The police resorted to lathi charge, burst tear gas to control the crowd | Pic: Twitter

Over 3,000 persons have been booked under unlawful assembly, rioting and criminal conspiracy charges on Monday (November 28) in connection with the violent attack on the Vizhinjam police station on Sunday (November 27) night as part of the ongoing protest against the under-construction Adani port.

In the FIR, police have registered a case against 3,000 identifiable persons including women and children for vandalising the station and injuring police personnel. As many as 40 police personnel and numerous locals were reported to be injured in the violence that ensued.

The police said that around 3,000 people gathered at the Vizhinjam police station demanding release of one accused in a case registered on Saturday (November 26) and other suspects, Leo Stanley, Muthappan, Pushparaj and Shanki, who were under custody.

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“The mob reached the police station at around 6 pm with iron rods, sticks, stones and bricks and created a hostage situation inside the police station… They threatened to set the police station ablaze if the accused were not released…They damaged five police vehicles and destroyed the office equipment inside the police station,” the FIR read.

It also states that there was a loss of around ₹85 lakh due to the attack.

Also Read: Vizhinjam port agitation: Kerala police register 9 cases against protesters

Sections of IPC including 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 447 (criminal trespass) and 353 (Assault on public servant) have been invoked.

Meanwhile, the Thiruvananthapuram city police commissioner told the media that the attack on the police station cannot be justified at all.

“We had already deployed enough police personnel. Attack on the police station cannot be justified. The people reached the station demanding to release one person who was charged under Section 307 of the IPC,” the commissioner said.

Meanwhile, the four persons who were taken into custody were released on station bail after recording their arrest.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), M R Ajith Kumar, had told the media that around 36 police officers were admitted to various hospitals of the city after getting injured in the attack by the mob which vandalised the police station on Sunday.

Also Read: Vizhinjam port: As protests intensify, Adani Group takes Kerala govt to court

“…a mob gathered at the police station in the evening and demanded the release of a few persons who were arrested in another case. They vandalised the police station and attacked the officers. An SI has received an open fracture on his leg. It seems like he was hit by a brick,” Kumar had told the media.

The mob targeted the police station using sticks and bricks, and attacked police officers after a person was arrested and a few others were taken into custody in connection with the violent protests on November 26.

Considering the sensitive situation prevailing in the area, the Kerala government has deployed police officials from other districts too.

The agitators also attacked media-persons who were present at the site. The cameraperson of a local channel Sherif M John was attacked by the protesters, who damaged his camera and snatched his cellphone. He was admitted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.

On Sunday, the state police lodged an FIR against at least 15 Latin Catholic priests, including metropolitan Archbishop Thomas J Netto and Perera, over the violence at Vizhinjam on Saturday. Following this, the police arrested one person and took into custody four others. The mob gathered, attacked the police station on Sunday seeking their release.

Also Read: ‘Adani should go back’: Fishermen intensify protest against Vizhinjam port

Television channels aired visuals of the vandalised Vizhinjam police station as well as overturned vehicles, including a police van and jeeps.

Security has been tightened in the Vizhinjam region following the violence.

(With inputs from agencies)

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