Vizhinjam protest a riot led by communal forces: MV Govindan

M V Govindan pointed out it was the Latin Church that approached the then government with the need for a port in Vizhinjam in the beginning. File Photo.

Thiruvananthapuram: CPM state secretary M V Govindan on Friday said what's happening in Vizhinjam was not a struggle but a riot. he also said the port project will be completed whether the strike ends or not.

"There are communal extremists with vested interests behind this chaos. The government does not intend to give in to these forces and stop the project," said Govindan.

The party secretary severely criticised Fr Theodacious D'Cruz, convener of the Anti-Port Strike Committee, for his communal remarks against Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman.

"The priest's words cannot be considered a slip of the tongue. Only an individual with communal propaganda can make such remarks," said Govindan.

He further pointed out it was the Latin Church that approached the then government with the need for a port in Vizhinjam in the beginning.

"The CPM earlier opposed giving the contract of the port to Adani Group. The party had also protested against the corruption that had been going on behind the deal.

Construction of the port began during the tenure of former chief minister Oommen Chandy. When the Left government came into power, the project was re-evaluated. However, it was decided to move forward with the plan as one government is the continuation of the previous one. hence, this government provided effective support," pointed out Govindan.

He further stated how the present government issued an order to resolve all the issues faced by fishermen as part of the port being constructed.

"It's the fisherfolk who started the strike in Vizhinjam. However, the government listened to them and approved six demands of theirs, including rehabilitation of the affected families, new homes and subsidy for kerosene. Their seventh demand was that the construction be stopped, which was the only demand the government had to deny. The project is essential for the development of the capital. The chaos now is centred around that single demand. Everyone is entitled to express their protest democratically," said Govindan.

He said the Vizhinjam police station attack was not a random incident. "It was planned and implemented. Some had even openly called for the station to be burned to the ground. Both civilians and police officers were brutally attacked. The intention was to go to any extent to stop the project," said Govindan.

He also said fishermen have no part in the current protests. "All their demands have already been agreed to. The fisherfolk are being used as a front by communal forces to create discord between communities. However, the people can see right through it and will reject the efforts," said Govindan.

He said whoever is responsible for the violence will be prosecuted and arrested.

"The clashes are being led by those opposing the peaceful end of the strike in Vizhinjam. Central forces are already present in the industrial centres of the state. Hence, there is no need for their entry to be protested against in Vizhinjam. The government has no issues with Central forces coming. As for law and order, Kerala Police will manage any untoward situation that erupts in the area," said Govindan.

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