Vizhinjam: CPM hits out at anti-port agitation, asks police to act against instigators

The party has indirectly accused the Latin Church of using devious means to achieve its ends and wants the police to take action against those creating an atmosphere of terror along the coast. Photo: Manorama Online

Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM has come out strongly against the Latin Church for the violent incidents around Vizhinjam on November 26 and 27.

The party has indirectly accused the Church of using devious means to achieve its ends. "The deceitful attempts of certain forces to incite riots in the Vizhinjam area should be stopped," the CPM State Secretariat said in a statement released on Monday.

The CPM wanted the police to take stringent action against those trying to take the law into their own hands and create an atmosphere of terror along the coast.

The CPM termed the violence "extremely serious and condemnable". "These forces that are out to destroy public harmony are indulging in violent activities with the clear intention of causing riots. The situation has so deteriorated that even the Vizhinjam police station was vandalised," the CPM statement said. "The agitation is getting more and more isolated from the public," the statement said.

The ruling party's blistering attack seems like a counter to the Church's accusation that the Vizhinjam violence was a conspiracy hatched by the LDF government to crush the anti-port agitation.

There was no direct reference to the Latin Church in the CPM statement but the drift was clear. "We should be able to expose those who instigate people with vested interests in mind," the statement said.

During the incipient stages of the agitation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had made a far more damning accusation against the Church-led agitation. He said the protests were controlled by outside forces.

But neither the Chief Minister nor the party has offered any clarity on the identity of these "outside forces" or what or who the "vested interests" are.

The CPM statement on Monday said that the attempts to scuttle the development projects sought to be implemented by the LDF government had been a continuous process. "There were severe objections to various development projects like the Kudankulam power project, the development of national highways and the laying of the GAIL pipeline. But with strong and determined actions the government had implemented all these projects," the statement said.

It said the government had done all it could to allay the concerns of the local people. "But certain vested interests are standing in the way," the CPM Secretariat said.

The LDF government had maintained that it had conceded five of the seven demands put forward by the coastal folk. Stopping the construction work and an increase in the subsidy of kerosene are the only two demands that had not been met. Freezing construction work, the government has emphatically ruled out. As for high kerosene prices, the state government has laid the blame on the centre's oil pricing policy.

The agitators, on the other hand, say that even these five demands have not been met to their satisfaction.

They are unhappy with the Rs 5,500 monthly rent the government had agreed to pay coastal families who wanted to move out from relief camps to rented houses. They are also not satisfied with the subsistence allowance the government had agreed to pay fishermen on days bad weather keeps them off the sea.

Even the expert committee formed to study the impact of the port on the coast was not welcome by the agitators. They wanted one of their representatives to be part of the committee, which the government had ruled out. The agitators, therefore, had announced a parallel expert study.

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