Officials reported that up to 36 police officers were hurt during clashes with demonstrators in Kerala, a state in southern India, who were calling for the release of a person detained during a protest against a $900 million port project of the Adani Group.
The $23 billion ports and logistics firm owned by Adani is having a lot of trouble with the escalating unrest. The port’s location on the southernmost tip of India is considered crucial for competing with ports in Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Dubai for business.
Construction at the Vizhinjam seaport has been put on hold for more than three months as a result of protesters who, for the most part, were members of the local fishing community who blocked the entrance to the port and claimed it was responsible for coastal erosion and the loss of their livelihoods.
Despite a court ruling ordering the work to resume, protesters prevented Adani’s construction vehicles from entering the port over the weekend, leading to several of them being arrested.
As a result, hundreds more gathered on Sunday night at a police station to demand the release of one of those who had been detained. This led to altercations with officers and damage to some of their vehicles, as shown in television news footage and a police report.
“They came with lethal weapons and barged into the station and held the police hostage, threatening that if people in custody were not released, they would set the station on fire,” the police said in the case document on the incident.
Many of the protesters, who were led by Roman Catholic priests, were Christians.
Priests were among the demonstrators who were attacked by the police, according to a clerical authority, Eugine H. Pereira, the archdiocese’s vicar general.
“Stones were pelted from even the station,” said Pereira said, who called for a judicial inquiry into the incident.
On Monday, a request for comment from The Adani Group did not receive a prompt response.
It has previously claimed that the project conforms with all laws, citing recent studies that disproved claims that it is responsible for shoreline erosion.
The state government attributes the erosion to calamities.