A contempt of court application has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here against top Union Government officials for having allegedly disobeyed interim orders passed by the court on October 14 to strengthen security on the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) between India and Sri Lanka in order to prevent attacks on Tamil fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy.
The petitioner, B. Stalin, a Madurai advocate, had sought to punish Union Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and Deputy Director General (Operations and Coastal Security) of Indian Coast Guard V.S.R. Murthy for alleged wilful disobedience of the court orders. In an affidavit filed through his counsel W. Peter Ramesh Kumar, the contempt petitioner said that a Division Bench comprising Justice K.N. Basha and Justice M. Venugopal had passed the interim order following a public interest litigation petition filed by him to prevent the attacks on Tamil fishermen. But nearly 20 fishermen died even when the petition was pending before the High Court.
Pursuant to the interim orders too, 12 fishermen from Vedaranyam were attacked with knives and robbed of fishes worth Rs.1 lakh while they were fishing about five nautical miles from the Indian coast on October 19. Five more fishermen from Kodiakarai were attacked on October 24. Even on Tuesday, 586 fishing boats from Rameswaram were damaged causing a loss of over Rs.5.08 crore, he claimed.