Says account of the victim, who was recuperating at a hospital, cannot be overlooked

Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy on Saturday questioned Sri Lanka’s denial of the firing on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy on Thursday.

Speaking to The Hindu here, he said the statement issued by the Sri Lankan High Commission in Chennai that denied the role of Sri Lankan Naval personnel in connection with the firing on Indian fishermen could not be accepted. He himself met the fisherman of Karaikal, who had received a bullet injury, at a hospital in Chennai, and enquired about the incident. He told him that the Sri Lankan Naval personnel, who came by a patrolling craft, fired at their boat and he sustained a bullet injury on his shoulder, but others escaped unhurt. The account of the victim, who was recuperating at a hospital, could not be overlooked.

Mr. Narayansamy said the violence against Indian fishermen on the high seas between India and Sri Lanka had escalated in the recent days. During the last six months alone, he spoke to the Indian Embassy officials in Sri Lanka about 20 times in connection with the incidents of attack on Indian fishermen.

It was regrettable that the attack on fishermen was continuing in spite of a number of diplomatic missions and the discussion between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa over the issue in which the former asked the latter to avoid use of force under any circumstance on fishermen and deal with the issue in a humanitarian manner.

Mr. Narayanasamy said that he had spoken to the Minister of External Affairs about the escalation of attack on Indian fishermen on the high seas.

The Union Minister had requested him to take steps to stop the attacks. He will meet Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday and ask him to step up patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line .

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