Charge of damaging boats, fishing nets

In a surprising development, the Rameswaram police have registered cases against the Sri Lankan Navy and the Lankan fishermen on charges of threatening the Indian fishermen from Rameswaram and Pamban areas and damaging their fishing nets and boats.

While three FIRs were registered at the Temple police station in the island against the Sri Lankan Navy, one FIR was registered in the Pamban police station against the Lankan fishermen, based on complaints lodged by fishermen – Sahaya Raja, P.Sesu Raja and Sekar of Rameswaram and John Britto of Pamban, police said.

The Rameswaram fishermen complained that the Lankan Navy had threatened to arrest their fishermen, when they were fishing on the high seas on February 1, near Katchatheevu and Danushkodi after opening fire in the air. The Navy personnel had also cut their fishing nets, damaged boats and took away the GPS wireless sets, they alleged.

Based on the complaints, the Town police station registered FIRs against 20 Lankan Navy personnel, whose name and addresses were not known, but identifiable under Sections 341, 323, 324, 427, 384 and 506(ii) of Indian Penal Code, read with section 27(i) of the Arms act, 1950.

Britto complained that the Pamban fishermen were fishing on the high seas on February 3, when the Lankan fishermen cut their nets and damaged the country boats, causing damage of Rs 2.80 lakhs. The Pamban police registered a case under Sections 341, 352,427 and 384 of IPC against an unspecified number of Lankan fishermen, police added.

When contacted, Superintendent of Police N.M.Mylvahanan said though the incidents had occurred early in February, the FIRs were registered on February 27 and 28.

The fishermen had so far complained about the attacks by the Lankan Navy but there was nothing on record to show, he said. The future course of action, however, would be decided at the government level, he told The Hindu. Police sources said the registration of FIRs against the Sri Lankan Navy comes after a gap of 20 years.

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