A statement by the navy said it categorically denies latest allegations that naval personnel had harassed Indian fishermen over the weekend.
The Indian media had reported that 16 fishermen from southern India had alleged that they were attacked by the Sri Lankan navy near the sea boundary which divides both countries.
The 16 fishermen from Rameswaram were attacked on Saturday while they fishing near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in Palk Straits.
It was also reported that the Indian External Affairs Ministry had raised its concerne over the alleged attack with Sri Lanka.
The navy however said that being a responsible naval force, it adheres to International Maritime Laws and carries out surveillance and patrolling accordingly in the defence of Sri Lankan waters.
“Sri Lanka Navy expresses deep concerns over the malicious allegations raised time to time accusing it of harassing Indian fishermen. None of these has, however, been able to provide credible proof regarding Sri Lanka Navy’s involvement. Most have been found to be mere hearsay and accusations based on ill intentions aimed at straining the good relations between the two friendly neighboring countries of Sri Lanka and India,” the navy said.
Alleged attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy have been frequently reported for several years but the navy had maintained it was never involved in such attacks.
“On numerous occasions, Sri Lanka Navy has come to the rescue of Indian fishermen in distress on humanitarian grounds and provided them with assistance using its vessels and personnel. Sri Lanka Navy, always provides humanitarian assistance to local and foreign fishermen in distress. It will continue its humanitarian operations in future and make available its expertise in rescuing and providing protection to se farers when they are in difficulty in Sri Lankan waters,” the Sri Lankan navy said. (colombogazette.com)