Sunday, January 22, 2012

Indian fishermen attacked; 200 boats damaged.

Fishermen attacked again, 200 boats damaged

RAMANATHAPURAM: Fishermen from Rameswaram who ventured into the sea on Saturday morning came under heavy attack, allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy. Nine fishermen were also taken by the Sri Lankan naval personnel and held in Talaimannar area.
About 600 boats ventured into the sea on Saturday morning and while they were fishing near the international maritime boundary in the afternoon, personnel from the island navy came there and began to pelt stones at the fishermen. The attack resulted in the damage to more than 200 boats. The Sri Lankan Navy later started chasing the Indian fishermen and allegedly climbed into their boats. They also beat up the fishermen and damaged the fishing nets. Fearing for their lives, the Indian fishermen fled to the shore for safety.

Unfortunately, two boats were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy, as the engines developed a snag, the fishermen said. The boats, belonging to Bose and Ramu were towed away. Nine fishermen - Chinnian, Malaichamy, Tamilselvan, Selvam, Rajamanickam, Packia Joseph, Mariappan, Vijyakumar and Ramu were taken into custody, they added.

Twenty-three fishermen sustained minor injuries in the incident. Interestingly, the fishermen have not preferred a complaint with the authorities. The attack came as a shock to the fishermen community in the region, as external affairs minister S M Krishna raised the issue with his counterparts during his visit last week to Colombo.
Informed sources said that negotiations are underway and the fishermen and the boats held by the Sri Lankan navy will be released by Monday morning.

A local leader from the fishermen community seeking anonymity said that the main reason behind the attacks were due to use of banned nets to erode the Sri Lankan marine wealth. "Few fishermen use banned high power boats and banned nets. When they are caught in the act, they will pay the meagre fine amount while their catch will amount to lakhs," he said.
"All this attacking and chasing is part of the Sri Lankan Navy protecting the marine wealth for their fishermen. Unfortunately, whenever they chase our boats, the innocent fishermen and boats are held, as the original culprits whizz past in their high-power boats," he claimed.
"This practice of Indian fishermen using banned nets to erode sea wealth should be put to an end and the Sri Lankan fishermen were very particular about it during the peace talks held earlier," he said

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