Navy denies claims it shot dead an Indian fisherman

The Navy today denied claims it opened fire on a group of Indian fishermen killing one and injuring another.

The Hindu newspaper reported that the Sri Lankan Navy had allegedly shot dead a 21-year-old fisherman and injured some others when they opened fire on fishermen from Rameswaram, who allegedly poached in Sri Lankan waters on Monday night.

The fishermen who set out for ‘night fishing’ Monday evening, were fishing on the high seas around 10 pm, when the Sri Lankan Navy allegedly opened fire.

The deceased fisherman was identified as K. Britso (21) from Thangachimadam. He was one of the six fishermen onboard a mechanised boat targeted by the Lankan navy, the reports said. Saran (37), the injured fisherman was rushed to the Government headquarters hospital in Ramanathapuram in an ambulance after the fishermen reached the fishing jetty here abour 20 minutes past midnight.

Navy spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Chaminda Walakuluge however told the Colombo Gazette the claims are not true.

He said the Navy only arrests fishermen for poaching and will not open fire.

Britso suffered a bullet injury on his neck and was profusely bleeding, the fishermen who accompanied him said. He succumbed to his wounds while being brought ashore, they said. The body of the deceased fisherman was kept at the government hospital mortuary.

A tense situation prevailed at the fishing jetty as fishermen in the island gathered and shouted slogans against the Sri Lankan Navy and the Indian government for being ‘inept’.

On Tuesday morning, Rameswaram fishermen refused to accept the body of Britso. With family members of the deceased fisherman, the fisher folk launched an agitation in Thangachimadam demanding explanation from the Centre and Sri Lankan government for the loss of life and lasting solution for the more than three-decade problem. (Colombo Gazette)


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