Nearly 30 lakh fishermen from coastal villages in the State intensified their agitation on Thursday against the death sentence awarded to five fishermen from Thangachimadam by a Colombo court recently.
Hundreds of fishermen from Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts attached to 64 coastal villages began a fast in front of the Head Post Office here.
Members of the Naam Tamilar Katchi staged a demonstration in front of the railway station, urging the Centre to mount pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure the acquittal of the fishermen and their early release.
In Pudukottai, fishermen observed a fast at Jagadapattinam. About 500 country boat and mechanised boat fishermen abstained from fishing.
R. Ramadevan, vice-president, Mechanised Boat Fishermen Welfare Association, and R. Muniasamy, president, Country boat Fishermen Welfare Association, who spoke at the meeting, said the cases had been foisted on the fishermen of Thangachimadam.
The fishermen also hoisted black flags in front of their houses.
Strike in Nagercoil
Fishermen of villages, from Arogyapuram to Neerodi, in Kanyakumari district struck work on Thursday.
Over 300 fishermen from the Colachel harbour observed a one-day strike while those from the Chinnamuttaom harbour were on strike for the third day. As a result, both fishing harbours wore a deserted look. The usually busy coastal villages, such as Kanyakumari, Kovalam, Manakkudi, Rajakkamangalam, Kurumbanai, Mandaikkadu, Manavalakkurichi, Irayumanthurai and Ramanthurai had the buzz missing.
A group of fishermen staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Assistant Director of Fisheries at Colachel.
A team of members from the South Asian Fishermen Fraternity (SAFF), consisting of various fishermen associations, submitted petitions to Collector Sajjansingh R. Chavan, wearing black clothes. Tamil Nadu Women Fishermen Federation president M. Leema Rose led the team.
Earlier, the SAFF passed six resolutions at a consultative meeting at Nagercoil. Copies of the resolutions were handed over to the Collector.
The meeting condemned Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa and urged the Indian government to take up the issue with the United Nations. It urged the Centre to send a high-level committee to Sri Lanka to secure the release of the fishermen through dialogue with Mr. Rajapaksa.
Another resolution called upon the State government to register a criminal case against Mr. Rajapaksa for killing 840 Tamil Nadu fishermen and get Rs.1 crore in compensation for the families of the victims.