Tamil Nadu

Kottaipattinam fishers still on hunger strike

Up in arms: Fisherfolk of Kottaipattinam continuing their hunger strike on Thursday.  

Fisherfolk from Kottaipattinam in Pudukottai district continued their hunger strike for the second day on Thursday, condemning the Sri Lankan Navy for the “recurring attacks” on Indian fishermen.

The fishers of the coastal hamlet have been abstaining from fishing since Wednesday, holding the Sri Lankan Navy responsible for the death of Rajkiran, 30, on Monday night. He drowned after a Sri Lankan naval vessel intercepted and collided with a boat of Kottaipattinam fishermen. The Sri Lankan Navy detained two others who were in the boat.

However, the Sri Lamkan Navy said it had “rescued” the two fishermen from the boat. The incident occurred when its patrol units were chasing away Indian trawlers “poaching in Sri Lankan waters”.

A large number of fishers and their families joined the hunger strike on Thursday, expressing anguish over the death of Rajkiran and the detention of the two fishermen. The fisherfolk wanted the Union government to put an end to the “recurring attacks” by the Sri Lankan Navy on fishers from the State.

“This has been going on for years, and has turned into a never-ending story. The Union government should put an end to it and ensure the safety of fishermen so that they can take up fishing without hindrance. Such incidents should not occur again, and the Union government should extract a written commitment from Sri Lanka,” M. Asan Mohaideen, president, Mechanised Boat Fishermen Welfare Association, Kottaipattinam, told The Hindu.

Demands listed

The fishermen demanded that the body of Rajkiran be returned at the earliest and the two detained fishermen be freed.

They wanted the affected families to be compensated adequately. “Rajkiran got married only about 40 days ago; his widow is a graduate, and she should be given a government job. The family should be given a compensation of ₹1 crore and the boat owner ₹25 lakh,” Mr. Mohaideen said.

Tiruchi MP Su.Thirunavukkarasar urged External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to press Sri Lanka for the return of Rajkiran’s body and the release of the detained fishermen. In a statement, he demanded compensation for the family of the deceased and the owner of the fishing boat.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 9:59:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/kottaipattinam-fishers-still-on-hunger-strike/article37117105.ece

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