Families of Indian fishermen protest against Sri Lanka

28DECPYSSM01-KA_29_2674706eThe families of 10 fishermen from Puducherry in India arrested by the Sri Lanka navy, staged a hunger strike over the failure to release the fishermen.

Sixty-five year old Alamelu from Karaikalmedu on Monday threatened to commit suicide by dousing herself with kerosene in front of the Head Post Office in Puducherry, if the government fails to rescue the 10 fishermen detained by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Eight fishermen from Karaikal and two from Nagapattinam were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on poaching charges on December 8. Veeramani, owner of a mechanised boat named ‘Veerarajan’, along with nine others were alleged to have been fishing in the Sri Lankan waters east of Point Pedro coast. The boat was moved to the Karainagar jetty.

Angered over the inaction of the Puducherry Government, families of the 10 fishermen went on hunger strike here on Monday. Alamelu said: “We want Katchatheevu back. Why is the government not taking any action? Why are they not giving us Katchatheevu? To whom does the sea belong? Fishing is our livelihood. If the government does not want us to venture into the sea then let them provide us jobs.”

She added that they will go back only when the government takes a decision in this regard.

“Our hunger strike will continue till then. Why is the Puducherry Chief Minister N. Rangasamy not taking any action?” she questioned.

Leaders of People’s Welfare Front were present at the venue to express solidarity with the striking fishermen families. “We will conduct a State-wide protest demanding the Puducherry Government to take immediate measures for their release. The government should give proper compensation to the families,” said R. Viswanathan, CPI State secretary, Puducherry. Leaders from the CPI (M), VCK, MDMK and RSP were present.

Nearly 50 family members of fishermen from Karaikal went on the hunger strike. Forty-five year old Murugeshwari from Karaikalmedu said that her fifteen-year old son who went to the sea on December 6 did not return. “We got a call on December 8 that they were being detained by the Sri Lankan Navy. After that, there was no information about them. We want the Puducherry Government to take proactive measures to get the fishermen released and bring them back home along with the mechanised boat,” she said.

Ms. Murugeshwari’s son was in his 12{+t}{+h}grade. “There were four young boys,” she cried.

Devi lost her mother as she died due to shock from hearing about the detention of her son-in-law. Devi’s husband Veeramani and her 20-year old son Veerarajan were detained. “It has been more than 20 days since our family members were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy. We have not yet heard from them after that,” she said.

She added that none of the officials from the administration have visited them. “We do not know what measures have the government taken to resolve this issue. No officials visited us except a MLA, who came only to console us. We are suffering without our family members.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. These so called fishermen are thugs, thieves and eco-criminals. They not only poach in Sri Lankan waters, but they also leave the marine eco system devastated. They deserve more than a jail sentence. Their boats and fishing gear should be destroyed so they can never fish again.

    • Absolutely. While I was in Jaffna this year, after 27 years in Canada, a gentlemen who works for a NGO told us that the Indian fishermen bring in large fishing trawlers and bottom trawl everything. A practice that’s banned in Sri Lanka and many countries. He said it’s very sad how Tamils on the other side wants to rob the livelihood of the Tamils on the island. The Tamil fishermen in the north have been pressuring the Navy to do more patrols.

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