Twelve fishermen were injured on Tuesday when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel for fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters, Fisheries department officials said.

It was a mistake by the fishermen who had gone as far as Iranatheevu, once a camp of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, to net fish there, the officials said.

Of the 664 boats, 600 had ventured into several points within Sril Lankan territorial waters, including Iranatheevu, Kundu and Talaimannar, the officials said.

According to fishermen, the Sri Lankan navy surrounded their boats, cut the fishing nets of more than ten vessels, and pushed four fishermen into the sea, and asked them to swim to their boat. Later the fishermen were asked to kneel down and were beaten up with lathis by the naval men, they alleged.

The Sri Lankan Navy reportedly detained the four fishermen for a while before releasing them, the fishermen said.

The naval men also hurled stones and other missiles including bottles, injuring eight of them but they managed to escape, the fishermen told the fisheries department officials in Rameswaram.

The officials said 12 fishermen suffered minor injuries in the attack.

Meanwhile, coast guard officials said they have received a letter from the Sri Lankan Fishermen’s Association stating that the Indian fishermen were fishing in Sri Lankan waters and it has affected their livelihood.

The Association also complained that the Indian fishermen were using banned fishing nets, affecting marine ecology. They asked the officials to take action against the fishermen who ventured into their territory.