India has boosted its maritime security and is checking all Indian fishing boats returning to the shore in the wake of fears that militants may attempt to enter India through Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s military had already on Wednesday denied reports that Pakistan militants may use Jaffna to enter India and launch attacks.
However the Times of India reported today that the Indian Navy and Coast Guard stopped fishing boats returning to the shore in Southern India yesterday and they were thoroughly combed by the naval and coast guard personnel.
B Jesuraja, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association stated that all the boats were checked by the navy and they also checked the documents, fishing tokens issued by the fisheries department.
The identity cards of the fishermen were also screened by them, he said. “We believe the search was carried out after the threat and the patrolling by Coast Guard was also intensified at International Maritime Boundary (IMBL),” he said.
According to the fishermen, the navy owns four to five fishing vessels taken on rental basis through which they take provisions and water to their bigger vessels in mid-sea. Those fishing vessels intercepted the fishermen as they were approaching the shore in the morning and the inspection was carried out, they claimed.
Fisheries department sources in Rameswaram also said that the navy is screening all the documentation of the boats and the details about the fishermen. “They are carrying out thorough inspection but we don’t know the exact reason behind it,” an official said.
Coast guard sources in Mandapam station said the inspection used to be carried out randomly but it was done as a thorough screening on Thursday. Coast guard vessels are also combing the sea round-the-clock. Coast Guard commandant, Mandapam, H Harish More said that they are carrying out the patrol round-the-clock and they are fully prepared. “We are carrying out tight patrol in the sea as usual,” he said.