Katchatheevu: Indian fisherman shot dead, another wounded in firing by Sri Lankan Navy

Rameswaram: Hundreds of fishermen on Tuesday staged a demonstration at Thangachimadam in the island to protest the killing of an Indian fisherman allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy.

A 22-year-old Indian fisherman was shot dead on Monday allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy while he was fishing in a mechanised boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet, fisheries department officials said.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The protesting fishermen have refused to accept the body of the fisherman unless a central minister visits the island and gives them an assurance that such incidents would not happen again, Rameswaram Fishermen Association President S Emiret said.

The fishermen have also demanded the arrest of the Lankan navy men involved in the incident, he said.

The incident occurred on Monday evening when Bridgo, from Thangachimadam in central Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu, was fishing near the islet along with others and the Sri Lankan naval personnel arrived at the spot and opened fire, Fisheries Department Assistant Director Kulanchinathan said.

Bridgo was shot in the neck and died on the spot, he said, adding another fisherman, Saravanan (22), suffered injuries in his leg in the firing while others who went along with them escaped unhurt and returned to the shore at 12:30 am.

Kulanchinathan said the body has been brought to the Rameswaram hospital and a case has been registered at the Jetty police station.

The fishermen alleged that there was no proper coordination between Lankan and Indian officials on the issue of fishermen fishing in the Palk Strait. They demanded the release of all Indian fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and also the boats seized by them.

Policemen have been deployed on the island to monitor the situation.

Rameswaram Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja told PTI that more than 2,000 fishermen were fishing well within Indian waters when the Sri Lankan naval personnel came to the spot taking them by surprise. The Lankan navy officials did not even fire a warning shot, he alleged.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in the area as fishermen from Thangachimadam coastal hamlet gathered in front of the hospital to protest the firing by the Sri Lankan navy.

ANI posted visuals of the incident on Tuesday.

The Tamil Nadu government had recently protested the rise in the cases of its fishermen being arrested by Sri Lanka and said the Centre did "not seem to put adequate pressure" on Colombo regarding the matter.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister K Palaniswami had referred to the arrest of 32 Indian fishermen by the Lankan authorities in the last few days and said these incidents were causing hardship and mental agony to the fishermen community.

Noting that currently there were 85 fishermen and 128 fishing boats in Lankan custody, he had urged Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry officials concerned to take concrete action through diplomatic channels to secure their release.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 07, 2017 11:38 AM

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