Fishermen announce indefinite strike from today

Mechanised boat fishermen associations have announced indefinite strike from Tuesday in protest against the arrest of 16 fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and seizure of three trawlers on charges of illegal fishing.

The decision was taken after the associations held an emergency meeting in Rameswaram on Monday. They demanded immediate release of the fishermen.

Leaders of 11 associations, led by N.J. Bose, condemned the arrests of 12 fishermen and seizure of their two trawlers on July 4 and four fishermen, along with their trawler, on July 8 and demanded their immediate release.

Pointing that almost all 187 trawlers confiscated by the Lankan navy since 2015 and impounded in the island nation suffered extensive damage and were unsalvageable, the leaders said the Centre and State governments should provide compensation of Rs. 25 lakh to each of the boat owners and provide them alternative livelihood.

The Sri Lankan government’s new act was aimed at strangling the Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu, they alleged and urged the Centre to take up the issue through diplomatic channels.

Fishermen leader P. Sesu Raja said the leaders had decided to meet Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar, Information Technology Minister M. Manikandan and senior officials to seek redress to their grievances. Till their demands were met, they would strike work.

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