Rameswaram fishermen announce relay hunger fast from November 6; condemn arrest of 67 fishers by Sri Lankan Navy

October 30, 2023 12:58 am | Updated 03:37 pm IST - RAMESWARAM

Mechanised fishing boats anchored in Rameswaram. Representational image. File

Mechanised fishing boats anchored in Rameswaram. Representational image. File | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

A cross-section of fishermen in Rameswaram has announced that a relay hunger fast would be held from November 6. According to P. Jesu Raja, fishermen association leader, in the past 15 days, 67 fishermen had been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in three different incidents. These fishers belonged to Rameswaram, Thangachimadam, Mandapam and other parts of Ramanathapuram district.

Even as the Centre has lauded fishermen for their contribution towards export earnings, a sense of insecurity and fear among fishers has increased due to arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy, he said. adding: “We do not cross the International Maritime Boundary Line as charged by the Lankan authorities.”

Taking into account the livelihood and plight of the fishermen who venture into the Palk Bay, the Union government should immediately work out a permanent solution to this issue, he added.

The arrest of 16 fishermen on Saturday evening and another 21 the same night had shocked the families here, Mr. Raja said, and added that only after receiving a firm guarantee from the Union and State governments [that the arrests would stop], they would put out to sea. Until then, we would resort to indefinite strike, he said.

Already, after the arrest of 27 fishermen on October 14, fishermen associations had announced an indefinite strike. However, due to the ensuing Deepavali festival, some fishers had put out to sea two days ago and the Sri Lankan Navy had detained them again, he added.

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