Tamil Nadu

Sri Lankan law draconian: fishermen

Expressing deep concern and anguish over the Sri Lankan government’s fisheries bill, banning bottom-trawling in its territorial waters and awarding two years imprisonment for violators besides levying a fine, fishermen leaders in Tamil Nadu alleged that the proposed legislation was aimed at intimidating and preventing them from fishing in the Palk Bay.

After last year’s high level meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Delhi and constitution of the Joint Working Group, the fishermen were hoping for a lasting solution but the proposed legislation caused a severe setback for the diplomatic efforts, they said.

“Indian fishermen enjoyed traditional fishing rights in the Palk Bay for several centuries and their rights could not be taken away in this fashion,” said U. Arulanandham, president of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF). He urged the Centre to prevail upon the Lankan government to withdraw the bill.

“This is draconian and aimed at crushing the livelihood of the fishers once for all,” said P Sesu Raja, leader of a mechanised boat fishermen association. Stating that the legislation went against the provisions of the 1974 and 1976 agreements between the two countries after India ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, he said it was time India retrieved the island and made a case for redrawing the International Maritime Boundary Line, he said.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 1:11:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sri-lankan-law-draconian-fishermen/article19236295.ece

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