At least three Indian fishermen were killed and eight injured in the Sunderbans area of South 24 Parganas in West Bengal when pirates, suspected to be Bangladeshis, attacked their trawlers late on Friday when they were fishing in the waters of the delta. Eleven fishermen and their trawler are feared to have been taken hostage.

All the three killed, are from Kakdwip area of the district.

Five Bangladeshis were caught by locals and handed over to police who are now questioning them. ‘Three persons have died in the incident. Enquiry is being conducted to determine whether the detained persons are fishermen or pirates,” District Superintendent of Police L.N. Meena told The Hindu over the phone.

The Indian fishermen, who had sailed out into the Bay of Bengal in 14 trawlers on Friday morning, were attacked at KenduDwip (island) in the Indian waters by unknown persons who came in motorised boats and shot at them.

Locals claimed that some fishermen on board the trawlers have also been taken away. Shyamal Mondal, Minister for Sunderban Affairs, said that 11 people along with a trawler were missing. The Coast Guard personnel and local police were searching for them. He said the injured were admitted to the Diamond Harbour Subdivision Hospital and other hospitals in Kolkata.

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and local MP, Choudhury Mohan Jatua, said that earlier this month there was a similar incident of Bangladeshi pirates attacking Indian fishermen.

“We have to strengthen our Coast Guard and increase patrolling in these areas to prevent such incidents,” Mr. Jatua said.