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Updated: August 19, 2013 03:08 IST

Colombo will try Indian fishermen

Sandeep Dikshit
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Indian fishermen after being released arrive in Rameswaram. Sri Lanka has ruled out early repatriation of over 100 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by it recently for allegedly crossing into Sri Lankan territorial waters. File photo: L. Balachandar
The Hindu Indian fishermen after being released arrive in Rameswaram. Sri Lanka has ruled out early repatriation of over 100 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by it recently for allegedly crossing into Sri Lankan territorial waters. File photo: L. Balachandar

No early repatriation, says Peiris

Sri Lanka has ruled out early repatriation of over 100 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by it recently for allegedly crossing into Sri Lankan territorial waters.

Some of them have been in custody for over two months, and Colombo says they would have to undergo the judicial process though the intention is not to deprive them of their liberty for long.

“But there has be some deterrence, otherwise why won’t they come over and over again?'” asked Sri Lankan Minister for External Affairs G.L Peiris who maintained that India’s transfer of Kachchatheevu island to Sri Lanka was a settled matter and cannot be reopened.

The Sri Lankan Foreign Minister said that till some time back, Indian fishermen who entered Sri Lankan waters were released quickly. But as this step was not dissuasive enough, Sri Lanka planned to prosecute the current lot of arrested fishermen so that they would not venture into its waters again.

“We are anxious to resolve this problem. Our problem is they come in large numbers – about 1,500 in 400 to 500 boats. The proportion of the problem is very disquieting and is not restricted to Palk Bay. They come as close as 700 metres from Sri Lanka’s eastern sea-board. This is a very volatile issue on our side too and the duty of the Sri Lankan government is to do something about it and not allow resources to be taken away day after day.”

Sri Lanka defended its human rights record and did not think the international community’s reservations on its handling of the military conflict with Tamil militants would come in the way of participation of member-countries in the Colombo Commonwealth Summit in November.

Here to formally invite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Commonwealth Summit, which Tamil parties and human rights organisations are calling on India to boycott, Mr. Peiris admitted the people of northern areas, where some of the most vicious fighting took place, were “bitter, angry and disillusioned.”

But the Sri Lankan government had achieved more rehabilitation and reintegration in its Tamil-majority areas than other post-conflict societies in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia, he said.

As was the case with Minister for Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Mr. Peiris also ruled out an early fix to the demand for greater political powers to the Northern Province, which will go to polls later next month. He also indicated that the Parliamentary Select Committee that is looking into giving greater political powers to provinces will go ahead with its deliberation next week without representatives of Tamil parties attending.

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Nice to know that Sri Lanka has some backbone. Infact, rather than daylight robbery of resources belonging to poor Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen, these trespassers use illegal bottom trawling and other harmful fishing methods which damages the marine environment to a point which is harmful to Indian fishing community as well. Tamil nadu government who is very sympathetic to Sri Lankan Tamils, do not impose any bans to such illegal fishing. They never heard of sustainable fishing methods.

from:  suneth
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 09:32 IST

Now time has come to call upon our PM to talk to his counter part at srilanka on immediate release of all 100 fishermen kept in jail for years and months without further delay, if all MPS, MLA, CMS and congressmen from south Keep a demonstration before PM"s house, Parliament or an indefinite hungerstrike can be only solution if u want to get the fishemwn to be released.U can c the suffering those fishermen"s famnilies without food .There must a demonostration againistn all srilankan high commissioner:"s office at Delhi, Tamilandu and wheerever it issituated.will any tamlian still keep quiet.Madam Jayalalalitha has personally impress on oour PM and may even call onhim personally.Let her Go in enblock along with allMLAs now or never.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 07:33 IST

When it comes to our own fishermen we are against all these legal problems. When it comes to the Italian Marines we are taking so long to try them. what a double standard we are going into.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 05:07 IST

Whole world knows Sri Lankan reputation when it comes to humanitarian treatment. It a mistake by congress leader Indira Gandhi to give Kach what was part of Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka. Now we pay the price.

from:  Senthil Natarajan
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 04:44 IST

For srilanka, it is very costly to maintain nearly 1500 fishermen incustody,k since all have to be fed.Hence it is better to release them enblock and caution them severely not to take any more chance,since the srilanks army may order shooting at sight.Why not srilankan Foreing Minster talk to his counterpart for an agreement of not permitting their indian fishermen to not to venture aggain in fishing in srilankan waters.Let there be srilankan army stationed in all their territorial waters to remain alert.or indian army also stationed to avoid any clash.

from:  vaidya
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 04:07 IST

Mr Peries' statement is very smart. The world Tamils including the island ones are
totally unhappy of his smartness considering the international community's
accusations of alleged war crimes and human rights violations. The people of
Northern Province and other Tamils want to see reconciliation before reconstruction.
The international community or Colombo cannot brush alleged war crime
accusations aside and go to shake hands with the main accused in Colombo in
November 2013. We await to see India's response now.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 03:02 IST

The Tamil Nadu fishermen are jeopardising the livelihood of their own
brethren in the North East of Sri Lanka by trying to fish in Sri Lankan
waters and by using bottom trawling.

from:  Rengaswamy Selvaraju
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 01:33 IST

Our sovereignty seems to be in question on all our sides as incursions occur from both China and Pakistan in the North while now our people get an unfair trial in Sri Lanka too. Meanwhile our economy continues to tank with a sinking Rupee and inflation. Yet all our political 'leaders' only seem to have 2014 in their minds and hence, who got to say what about which state/community/caste/religion people seems to be the only relevant topic in the media. Nobody seems to be bothered about what the people want including the so called voice of the people: the media. At the same time whatever remains of free speech: The Social Media is out to be gagged by the law.

Where indeed is this country heading??

from:  Manoj Warrier
Posted on: Aug 19, 2013 at 00:49 IST

About the Sri Lankan fisherman, I do hope the Indian government resolves
the issue quickly.
I hope this does not snowball into a major incident ...

from:  Sathya
Posted on: Aug 18, 2013 at 23:33 IST
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