The Adani Group has approached the Kerala High Court seeking the deployment of central forces to maintain security at the Vizhinjam seaport in Thiruvananthapuram, where several protests have halted construction work, Live Law reported.

Justice Anu Sivaraman, who was hearing the Adani Group’s plea against obstruction and blockades due to protests, asked the state and Union governments to discuss the possibility of deploying the central forces. They have been directed to respond by December 7.

A large number of fisherfolk, under the aegis of the Latin Catholic diocese of Thiruvananthapuram, have been protesting for the last few months against the Rs 7,500-crore project led by billionaire Gautam Adani’s ports business. They have alleged that the project is causing coastal erosion and hitting their livelihoods.

The protest took a violent turn on Saturday after demonstrators prevented the Adani Group from resuming construction at the project site, which has been suspended for the last four months. The construction at the port was resumed on the directions of the Kerala High Court.

On Sunday, a first information report was registered against Thiruvananthapuram Archbishop Thomas Netto, Auxiliary Bishop R Kristudas and 13 other Latin Catholic priests in connection with Saturday’s violence.

The fishermen’s community also alleged that the police took five men in custody.

On Friday, the state government informed the court about the cases that were registered and the arrests, PTI reported.

However, the counsel of the Adani Group contended that many accused in the case, including many priests, were still at the protest site.

The group also described the police investigation into the matter as a farce.

Agitators are victims of development: Congress

The Congress, on Friday said that the Vizhinjam agitators were “victims of development” and alleged that there was a conspiracy between the Adani Port authorities and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to isolate them before the society, PTI reported.

Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan said four ministers had alleged terrorist connections against the anti-seaport stir.

The Congress has also said that by talking about the terrorist links and booking priests, the government intends to provoke the local fishermen community and thus give the Adani Group an upper hand in the case pending before the High Court.

The ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) has rubbished the allegations and said that no one has objected to democratic protests, and that objections were only about violent incidents, including the attack on a police station, PTI reported.