Tamil Nadu fishermen associations demand impartial probe into charges of causing Lankan sailor’s death

He urged the state government to exert pressure on the Centre to prevail upon the island nation to drop all charges and ensure the safe return of the ten fishermen.


Published Jul 03, 2024 | 10:38 AM Updated Jul 03, 2024 | 10:38 AM

Sri Lankan Navy arrests Tamil Nadu fishermen

Fishermen associations in Tamil Nadu expressed shock over Nagapattinam fishermen being charged with causing the death of a Sri Lankan Navy sailor when the latter apprehended them and demanded an impartial inquiry into the incident.

A senior Fisheries Department official said talks were on at the embassy level to ascertain the facts. “Both the state and Central governments are involved in taking up the fishermen’s case,” he said.

Stating that the Tamil Nadu fishermen were never violent, the president of Neithal Makkal Katchi K Bharati claimed the Nagapattinam fishermen had set sail to fish on their mechanised vessel, which was not capable of causing the death of the sailor.

“It could have been an accidental fall. Moreover, since the apprehension of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan navy and also the death of the sailor occurred at sea, the Central government should constitute an independent committee to probe the incident,” Bharati told PTI on Tuesday, 2 July.

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10 fishermen arrested

He urged the state government to exert pressure on the Centre to prevail upon the island nation to drop all charges and ensure the safe return of the ten fishermen. Also, he insisted that their fishing vessel, impounded on 25 June, be returned.

Ten fishermen, including seven from Nagapattinam, two from Andhra Pradesh and one from Cuddalore, were arrested allegedly for fishing near the island nation’s Delft Island (Neduntheevu). They have also been accused of causing the death of a Sri Lankan sailor during their arrest.

Wondering if the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group was functioning effectively, the vice-president of the Indian National Fishermen Union, Nagapattinam, RMP Rajendiran Nattar said the Nagapattinam fishermen were only fishing in their traditional area.

“Their arrest is unwarranted and the charge framed against them is condemnable,” Nattar told PTI. He urged the Centre and state government to have all the fishermen repatriated immediately.

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‘A lasting solution’

Nattar suggested that the Central government hold discussions with Sri Lanka and come up with a lasting solution to the frequent arrests of Tamil Nadu fishermen. It should also safeguard the fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen, he added.

According to a senior official in the Fisheries department, a fishermen association had submitted a representation to the official on behalf of the affected families seeking the dropping of cases against the men and their safe return.

They wanted the Centre to prevent such arrests in future, he said.

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