Eight Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu where injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy while fishing off Neduntheevu, prompting the state Government to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to curb such ‘violent actions’.
“Eight fishermen from Pudukottai district were fishing off Neduntheevu last evening when the Lankan naval personnel attacked them using iron rods and wires before chasing them away,” Tamil Nadu Fisheries department Joint Director Sekar said, according to the Press Trust of India.
The injured fishermen were being treated at the Government hospital at Manalmelkudi in that district.
Taking up the matter, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam said “it is reported that the Sri Lankan Navy personnel boarded the fishing boats and brutally attacked the poor fishermen,” while they were fishing in their “traditional waters. The frightened fishermen, terrorised by the unprovoked and brutal attack of the Sri Lankan Navy, returned to shore immediately,” he said.
Despite several steps taken by the state Government under former Chief Minister the late J Jayalalithaa to find a permanent pragmatic solution to this “sensitive livelihood issue, the situation at sea remains precarious because of the belligerent actions of the Sri Lankan Navy,” he charged. “The Sri Lankan Navy continues to unleash its reign of terror on our fishermen in the Palk Bay, where these fishermen have earned their meagre livelihood from time immemorial.”
“The inhuman and barbaric acts of the Sri Lankan Navy continue unabated in spite of several rounds of talks and meetings between Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of India wherein it was assured that force would not be used against bonafide Indian fishermen,” he said. He said Jayalalithaa had repeatedly pointed out that the abrogation of 1974 Indo-Lanka agreement on ceding the islet Katchatheevu to the island republic alone can restore the traditional fishing grounds of the Palk Bay to the Tamil Nadu fishermen.
Further, a total of 15 Indian fishermen and 107 boats were languishing in Sri Lankan custody, Panneerselvam said. “I request you to intervene personally in this sensitive livelihood issue of our fishermen and use diplomatic channels to curb the violent actions of the Sri Lankan Navy on innocent fishermen from Tamil Nadu.”
“It is very important that the Government of India acts decisively to ensure that our fishermen can pursue their livelihood with freedom and peace of mind in their traditional waters of Palk Bay. I also request the Government of India to secure the release of 15 fishermen and 107 fishing boats without any delay,” he said in the letter.