Six Tamil Nadu fishermen held, mechanised boat seized by Sri Lankan Navy

Representational image

Representational image | Photo Credit: L. Balachandar

In a fresh incident, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested six fishermen from Rameswaram on Wednesday evening, on various charges including violation of the IMBL (International Maritime Boundary Line). Their mechanised boat has also been impounded by the authorities.

Fisheries Department officials said they had issued 539 tokens on Wednesday at 3 p.m. from Rameswaram jetty. Around 3000 fishermen had ventured into the Palk Straits for fishing.

At around 9.30 p.m, the Sri Lankan Navy personnel, it is alleged, had arrested six fishermen on poaching charges and detained them at Talaimannar district for further interrogation, the sources said here on Thursday

The officials identified them as Balamuguran (45), K. Arjunan (23) of Karaiyur, Antony (38), G. Madugu Pichai (45) of Thangachimadam, K. Thangapandi (55) of Rameswaram and Raja (21) of Sivakami Nagar.

Left in shock

As the information about the arrest of six fishermen spread, fishermen habitations in Rameswaram, Thangachimadam and Mandapam were shocked.

Speaking to The Hindu, fishermen leader Jesu Raja said at a time Sri Lanka was in a major economic crisis, India had helped the country by sending essential goods. Over 100 persons from Sri Lanka had reached Dhanushkodi seeking refuge, and the Tamil Nadu government had given them accommodation with food and clothes.

The fishermen had also voluntarily offered to ferry the essential goods to the crisis ridden island nation three months ago.

Under such circumstances, it was shocking to hear that the Navy personnel in Sri Lanka had arrested six fishermen. This was unfortunate. “Our people are loaded with grievances. Survival for fishermen has become a big question mark. There has been no tangible assistance from the Union and State governments to our requests in any form,” he claimed.

The fishermen were weak that they could only look for assistance from the governments at this juncture, Mr Jesu Raja said and appealed to the governments to intervene with the Sri Lankan authorities and get release of the arrested fishermen and the boat.

Already, he said, the Sri Lankan Navy personnel had impounded hundreds of boats since 2018. They were not released despite repeated pleas. A mechanised boat cost around Rs 50 to 70 lakh. The livelihood of many fishermen, after covid19 pandemic, had been miserable.

A Fisheries Department official in Chennai said that they have taken up the issue with the TN government and would convey to the Union government for speedy action.

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Printable version | Aug 26, 2022 5:22:13 pm |