Special Correspondent

NAGAPATTINAM: Communist Party of India (CPI) on Wednesday commenced its six-day “fishermen’s right to live propaganda yatra’ by vans from the ancient port town of Pazhayar in Sirkazhi taluk in Nagapattinam district.

The yatra led by T. Pandian, party State secretary, will pass through the coastal areas of Nagapattinam, Tiruavarur, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts and reach Rameswaram on June 30.

R. Nallakannu, CPI national executive member, flagged off the yatra in the presence of Pandian, Sivapunniam, MLA, Selvaraj, Nagapattinam district secretary, and others. The yatra has been organised to create awareness among the people about the frequent attacks by the Sri Lankan army on the fishermen.

Addressing wayside meetings at Sembanarkovil and Tarangampadi and a public meeting in Nagapattinam on Wednesday night, Pandian urged the Centre to take immediate steps to protect fishermen from the attacks of Sri Lankan Navy.

Mr. Pandian said that Tamil Nadu fishermen venturing into the sea were fired upon by the Lankan Navy at midsea or their boats were taken away for the past four decades. He pointed out that the yatra had been organised to halt the atrocities by Sri Lankan forces on Indian fishermen. The Coast Guard should be instructed to protect Indian fishermen venturing into the sea.

The CPI secretary said that if the attacks by the Lankan navy continued, the fishermen had no option but to carry weapons.

Several speakers urged the Centre to give a compensation of Rs.5 lakh to the families of fishermen who died while fishing.

They also wanted the Centre to withdraw the recent notification on Coastal Zone Management.