TN fishermen to protest against arrest of fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy
Chennai, Feb 10 (IANS) Fishermen of Ramanathapuram and Thangachimadom areas of Tamil Nadu will hold a protest by blocking roads against the regular attacks and arrests of Tamil Nadu fishers by Sri Lankan Navy as well as pirates in mid-sea.
“A high level meeting of all fishermen associations, local politicians, social activists and religious leaders will meet on Saturday and plan road blockade and other pressure tactics for the release of fishermen and their costly mechanised boats,” KM Antony, leader of fishermen in Rameswaram told IANS.
He said that the fishermen bring huge revenue to the country but the safety of fishermen has always been in danger.
“Our families go through nightmares after we enter the sea for fishing. Anytime we can be attacked in mid-sea. It can either be pirates or the Sri Lankan Navy who arrest us on charges of crossing the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL),” Antony said.
Few days ago, at least 23 fishermen from Rameswaram and Thangachimadom fishing hamlets were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy from Neduntheevu on charges of alleged crossing of IMBL and poaching in Lankan waters.
Two mechanised boats were also impounded and while the fishermen were produced before a court and remanded in judicial custody, the boats are in the custody of the Sri Lankan Navy.
Earlier, two weeks before, four pirates entered a fishing boat, attacked the Tamil Nadu fishermen and escaped with costly belongings including GPS and Satellite phones.
In 2023, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested at least 243 fishermen and seized 37 boats.
In the past 28 days alone, 88 fishermen and 12 boats had been apprehended in six incidents. However 11 of those fishermen have already been released and presently 77 fishermen and 151 boats remain in Sri Lankan custody.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to make diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the Tamil Nadu fishermen who had been arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities.
He has also requested the Prime Minister to initiate diplomatic efforts to secure the release of fishermen and pointed out that there had been a significant rise in the number of arrests of Tamil fishermen by the Sri Lankan authorities over the past few years.
The Chief Minister also drew the attention of Modi to the increasing attacks on Tamil fishermen and the damage inflicted on their boats and equipment by “unidentified persons” in the seas, saying it had added a new layer of concern to an already precarious situation.
He also said that with an amendment made to the Fisheries Act by Sri Lanka in 2018, the boats seized by the Sri Lankan authorities cannot be salvaged and brought back to Tamil Nadu, even if they are in good condition.
Stalin also reiterated his request to the Prime Minister to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to make necessary amendments, withdraw the nationalisation of apprehended Indian fishing boats and release them immediately.
He also urged the Prime Minister Modi to take swift action to ensure the release of 77 fishermen and 151 boats from Sri Lanka.