Northern fishermen demand damages from India after mid-sea clashView(s):
Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen are to demand compensation from India for damages allegedly caused by Indian fishermen to their fishing boats in a mid-sea clash off the northern seas on Thursday, a fishermen federation leader said yesterday. The demand would be placed at a meeting tomorrow with India’s Consular General in Jaffna.
The northern fishermen claimed that three fishermen were injured and fishing nets and a boat damaged when Indian fishermen threw petrol bombs, pelted stones and sharp objects. The incident took place off the Vadamarachchi coast. The Indian Consular General A. Nadaraja told the Sunday Times he was willing to meet the fishermen and had been informed about the incident by TNA Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran.
The incident, the most serious during the past one year, came a day after Mr. Nadaraja hosted a dinner for nine leaders of fisheries federations in the north at a private hotel. A.J. Edward, the leader of St Mary’s fisheries federation of Kaddaikadu said they were still vulnerable to the ongoing poaching by Indian fishermen and the authorities had failed to protect them when they were attacked.
On Thursday around 10.00 a.m. the hour-long clash between the fishermen of the two countries erupted in the mid sea when the Indian fishermen were engaged in fishing off Kaddaikadu on Jaffna’s Vadamarachchi coastline. Kaddaikadu fishermen claimed that the Indian fishermen attacked them with firearms, sharp objects, stones and petrol bombs when they went to recover their fishing nets that had been taken by the Indians. The hour-long confrontation left three fishermen injured and their boats partly damaged.
Jamis Vengislaz, a father of three and one of the three fishermen who were injured in the attack said his fishing net worth about Rs. 500,000 was damaged by the Indian fishermen. ”When we went there to get our fishing nets they surrounded us in trawlers and started to throw petrol bombs. We brought stones with us too. It went on for about one hour and the boats were damaged. I was injured in the leg and we had to return,” he said.
He said they had complained many times to the nearby by Navy camp and their failure to take action had led to this clash. ”Navy personnel were watching from the shore while we were confronting each other. If the Navy had acted early, we could have avoided this clash,” he said.
Hours after the clash, the Navy arrested two batches of 86 Indian fishermen for poaching off Mullaitivu. Ten of their fishing boats also were seized.
The 43 Indian fishermen along with their five trawlers were handed over to the police at the port city of Trincomalee after they were produced before the Trincomalee magistrate. The other 43 fishermen were remanded until March 13 by the Point Pedro Magistrate. The 43 fishermen in Trincomalee were remanded for two weeks yesterday by Magistrate K. Saravanaraja.
Meanwhile Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam has written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling on him to take action for the immediate release of the Indian fishermen.