The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday expressed displeasure over the failure of the State government to file an affidavit, in compliance with orders passed by the court on Monday, listing out steps it could take to safeguard Indian fishermen from alleged attacks by the Sri Lankan Navy.

A Division Bench of Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma and Justice A. Selvam wondered how could the State not file an affidavit when the Centre had been prompt in filing a similar affidavit signed by Deputy Inspector General S.K. Verghese, Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at Headquarters Coast Guard Region (East).

In the affidavit, the Coast Guard reiterated its stand that no attack on the fishermen had taken place within the Indian territorial waters and that the latter were in the habit of entering the foreign waters in order to exploit the marine wealth there.

However, it said that it would not be practically impossible for any agency to physically prevent the fishermen from crossing the 160 nautical miles (296 km) long International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) as hundreds of them venture into the sea from numerous hamlets.

One solution to the problem could be sensitising the fishermen, through the State Fisheries Department, about the consequences of infringing the sovereign rights of another country and keeping a check over them through Global Positioning System-based locating tracking system, it added.

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