Incident near IMBL; Sri Lankan navy blamed
RAMANATHAPURAM: Three weeks after the shooting incident that killed Santhiyahu of Rameswaram island, another fisherman from Tamil Nadu was seriously injured when a group of fishermen was fired at, allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy, on Saturday.
Four fisherman from Victoria Nagar near Thankachimadam ventured into sea on Saturday morning. Led by Andran (25), they started spreading their nets near the International Maritime Boundary Line between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar when a flotilla of boats opened fire at the boat from close range.
A bullet went through the cheek of Andran, who was severely injured and fainted instantaneously due to loss of blood. The windshield of the boat was smashed.
Other crew members Pandi, Kannusamy and Chandran, who escaped unhurt, rushed to the shore and admitted Andran to a hospital at Rameswaram. Since his condition was serious, he was referred to the district headquarters hospital in Ramanathapuram.
“By the time we anchored our boat, a group of Sri Lankan naval boats fired a volley of shots. Though initially they opened fire in the air, a sailor suddenly changed direction and fired upon us. Other boats fishing nearby took off immediately,” said Pandi.
Collector R. Kirlosh Kumar, who visited the injured in hospital, told The Hindu that going by the fishermen’s version, the attackers appeared to be Sri Lankan naval personnel. An enquiry would be conducted to ascertain the reasons that led to the incident.
The police recovered a bullet from the boat and will send it for forensic analysis.
Speaking to The Hindu over phone, Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai P.M. Amza denied the involvement of his country’s navy in the incident. “I spoke to Vice Admiral Wasantha Karanagoda, Commander of the Sri Lankan navy, immediately after the reported incident. After conducting a preliminary enquiry, he told me that no Sri Lankan naval vessel or personnel were involved in Saturday’s incident.”