A man was arrested while protesting against Adani Group’s $900 million port project. Massive protests started in the southern Indian state of Kerala demanding his release. Officials said that 80 people, including 36 policemen of the country, were injured in the clash with the protesters. News from Reuters.

The growing movement is a major headache for Adani’s $23 billion ports and logistics business. The port’s location at the southern tip of India is considered key to winning business from ports in Dubai, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

However, local residents blame such development projects for coastal erosion. Most of them have been earning their living by catching fish from the sea. The protestors claim that if development projects like ports are built in these areas, fishermen will starve to death.

Currently, the construction of the Vizhinjam seaport has been halted for over three months as protesters block the entrance.

Protesters last week blocked Adani’s construction vehicles from entering the port despite a court order to resume construction. As a result many of them were threatened with arrest and some were arrested.

A clash broke out with the police when the protestors gathered at the local police station with several hundred people on Sunday night to demand the release of one of the arrested persons. Some police vehicles were also damaged.

“They entered the station armed with lethal weapons and took the police hostage and threatened to set fire to the station if the people in their custody were not released,” police said in a case report on the incident.

Many of the protesters were followers of Christianity led by Roman Catholic priests. The police attacked the protesters. Among them were some priests, said Eugene H. Perera, a ecclesiastical official and vicar general of the archdiocese.

He added, ‘Even stones were pelted from the station.’

Perera originally called for a judicial inquiry into the incident. However, the Adani Group did not respond to a request for comment on the incident.

Citing research in recent years, they said earlier, the project complies with all laws. It has even claimed that there will be no coastal damage due to the project.

(28 November)