SL Navy personnel arrest 11 fishermen, seize three boats

Fishermen associations to take a decision to protest soon

Sri Lankan Navy personnel arrested 11 fishermen from Ramanathapuram district and seized three mechanised boats on the charge of trespassing into their territorial waters on Tuesday.

As the information reached Rameswaram island, the fishermen were in a state of shock.

According to fishermen association leader Sahayaraj, around 575 mechanised boats ventured into the sea after obtaining tokens from Fisheries Department on Monday. They were expected to return on Tuesday evening. However, in the early hours of Tuesday, the Sri Lankan Navy personnel detained 11 fishermen on three boats stating that they crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line near Katchatheevu.

The Sri Lankan Navy personnel took them to a naval camp, where they were informed that the authorities would produce them before a court, a fishermen leader said here.

Speaking to reporters, he said three boats belonging to Xavier, Robin and Manikanda Prabhu had been detained. The arrested persons included Thangadurai, Lingam, Sendurpandi, Ramesh and Shankar.

At a time when Rameswaram fishermen were fighting to get back their 105 boats seized since 2018, which the Sri Lankan government had intended to auction between February 7 and 11, such repeated actions by their navy showed that they were not interested in maintaining friendly ties with India.

The fishermen associations would soon take a decision to protest against the arrest. “We want a lasting solution to our problem. It is a question of our lives. Such humiliation at frequent intervals showed that the Union and the State governments were not bothered about the welfare of the fishermen, he charged.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging intervention at the highest level to immediately stop the auctioning of boats belonging to fishermen here, he said and urged the Centre to secure the release of the 11 fishermen at the earliest.

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