A fisherman was strangulated to death and two others harassed allegedly by the Sri Lankan Naval personnel while they were fishing South East of Kodiakarai in Vedaranyam on Saturday night.

The 28-year-old victim Jayakumar along with his brother Senthil (25) and an associate Rajendran (42) had ventured into the sea for fishing from Pushpavanam here on Saturday morning. According to Senthil, the incident occurred at around 11 p.m on Saturday night, when their boat was intercepted by the Sri Lankan Navy at about 20 kms (11 nautical miles) South East of Kodiakarai - reportedly within the International Maritime Boundary Line.

The Lankan naval vessel had allegedly girded the Indian boat, and its three occupants were ordered to jump into the waters. While the other two jumped into the sea, the victim is reported to have stayed put on the boat, when a naval person jumped into the boat and tied a noose to Jayakumar's neck with a rope from the boat. According to the survivors' accounts, the loose end of the rope was thrown into the naval vessel, and the victim was dragged out into water, strangulating him to death instantly. The body of Jayakumar was brought back in the early hours of Sunday morning and a complaint was registered with the Vedaranyam Coastal Police.

The incident is the second instance of killing of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy in less than 10 days. Earlier, a Nagapattinam-based fisherman was shot dead, when they had ventured into the sea from Jagadhapattinam in Pudukottai district.

Three days ago, few fishermen from Kodiakarai had alleged an attempted attack by the Lankan Navy by hurling beer bottles on an Indian boat. However, the fishermen chose not to register a complaint over that incident.

A solatium of Rs.5 lakhs has been announced by the government to the victim's family.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed for sometime when the family of the fisherman took to the streets with the victim's body, and demonstrated outside the Taluk office in Vedaranyam. The protest led by O.S.Maniyan, MP, Mayiladuthurai, drew support from cross-section of people, with the Pushpavanam villagers, fisherfolk and CPI (M) functionaries participating in expression of solidarity. The protesters condemned the killing and also alleged callousness on part of the governments at the Centre and the State.

The 28-year-old victim Jayakumar is survived by his wife and a six-month-old and two-year-old daughter. While the wife of the victim was inconsolable, the children were oblivious of their bereavement.

A huge police contingent has been stationed in Vedaranyam as a precautionary measure under Santosh Kumar, Superintendent of Police. Deputy Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Tiruvarur were also present.

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