The Sri Lankan Navy has apprehended four Indian fishermen in the wee hours of Tuesday near Katchatheevu for allegedly violating the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
Fishermen organisations of Tamil Nadu alleged that the Sri Lankan navy also seized one mechanized boat used by the fishermen.
Since January, 87 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy. While 42 fishermen were released after the Government of India’s intervention, the rest are still languishing in jails at Jaffna in Sri Lanka.
Fishermen organisations and families of fishermen have been protesting for the past two days at Mandapam and Ramanathapuram against the arrest and detention of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu.
S.J. Jesudas, a leader of the fishermen association of Tamil Nadu, told IANS, “The fishermen of Tamil Nadu are subjected to regular arrests by the Sri Lankan navy and both the Government of India and the Tamil Nadu government are keeping quiet. It is to be noted that Sri Lanka has taken Rs 100 crore loan from the Government of India for their survival, still, the island nation’s navy is arresting our fishermen and keeping them in jail.”
He said that the Sri Lankan Navy has seized the mechanized boats of the fishermen on earlier occasions and now also one more fishing boat has been seized. The Fishermen’s leader said that the boats are being auctioned by the Sri Lankan authorities after giving advertisement in local newspapers.
Mary Joseph, a fisherwoman at Rameswaram told IANS, “The situation here is very bad and our fishermen are reluctant to go to the sea fearing attack from the Sri Lankan navy. A new situation has arisen wherein fishermen from Sri Lanka are begging from our fishermen for uncooked rice and liquor as the economic condition in the island nation is very bad. However, the arrogance of the Sri Lankan navy is unfounded and they are even assaulting our fishermen before taking them to the mainland and producing them in courts.”
She said that the Government of India must immediately act and put an end to this issue once and for all.