Fishermen from eight coastal districts in Tamil Nadu have decided to ‘lay siege’ to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission at Chennai on February 29, demanding release of 29 fishermen from the state, lodged in prisons in the island nation, the Press Trust of India reported.
They have also demanded release of 78 fishing boats. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of fishermen’s panchayat leaders of Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Rajendran, president of the fishermen panchayat in Nagapattinam district, said 29 fishermen from various parts of the state are now lodged in Sri Lankan prisons.
“Seventy eight fishing boats have been seized by Sri Lankan naval personnel in 2015 and had not been released yet. The boats are valued at between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 30 lakh each, depending on their size,” he said.
Fishermen’s associations have been organising a series of agitations since Jan 26, demanding immediate action by the Union Government, Rajendran said. On January 29, they had resorted to road and rail blockade at Karaikal. They also laid siege to the port in that city. However, it had not yielded any positive result and so a decision was taken by fishermen to ‘lay siege’ to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission at Chennai on February 29, he said. “If that agitation also fails to get back the fishermen and boats, we will intensify our agitation statewide,” he added. (Colombo Gazette)