THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Over 3,000 persons have been booked in connection with violent clashes during an ongoing protest against the Adani port project in Kerala's Vizhinjam area on Sunday night.
Police said cases have been registered against 3,000 'identifiable persons' for vandalising a police station and injuring police personnel. As many as 36 police personnel were reported to be injured in the violence that ensued.
Earlier 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.
Additional Director General of Police M R Ajith Kumar told the media that around 36 police personnel injured in the Sunday evening attack by the mob which vandalised the police station were admitted to various hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram.
"...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 told the media.
Kumar said there was no provocation on behalf of the police. He said officials were trying to maintain law and order in the region by exercising maximum restraint. It was when the protests turned violent that the police had to resort to lathi charge and tear gas to disperse the mob, he added.
Around 600 policemen were already deployed in the region and around 300 more were added to them, Kumar said.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the district administration on Sunday night held a meeting with the Latin Church authorities, who were leading the protests against the port project.
Vicar General Eugene Pereira, who attended the reconciliatory meeting on behalf of the protesters, told the media that the protesters who have gathered in the region will disperse without creating any trouble to the public.
"Today's talks have ended now. The people who have gathered in the nearby areas will leave without creating any trouble for the public. Talks will continue in the morning. We will have multiple meetings with the officials," he had said on Sunday.
Pereira said the facts of the cases registered against protesters have to be verified with regard to the violence and the church representatives will attend Monday's meeting called by the Collector.
He alleged the police had detained five local persons without giving details of the reasons for taking them, which provoked the locals.
"Many people are wounded and have been admitted to various hospitals of the city. We still don't know how many are injured. A few persons are said to be missing. So in tomorrow's meeting we will include all the matters," Pereira said.
An uneasy calm prevailed in Vizhinjam on Monday morning with a strong police force being deployed to keep the situation under control in Vizhinjam.
Late on Sunday night protesters had attacked mediapersons who were present at the site. ACV local channel cameraperson, Sherif M John was attacked by the protesters, who damaged his camera and snatched his cellphone. He has been shifted to Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital.