Another Indian fisherman killed allegedly by Sri Lankan navy

September 28th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghRameshwaram (Tamil Nadu), Sep 28 (IANS) The fishing community declared a general strike here following the alleged killing of a fisherman by Sri Lankan navy Sunday, the police said.Eyewitnesses Doraiswamy, Rajendran and Lingam told the police that a flotilla of Indian boats was subjected to indiscriminate strafing by the island’s navy near Aachchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka in the mid-1970s.

The deceased, Murugan, 32, was shot in the back as he along with other fishermen tried to flee, police sources added.

Local fishing community leaders, incensed over the alleged mindless killing on the Palk Strait - the narrow expanse of water separating India and Sri Lanka - have called for immediate intervention by the government of India to stop it and threatened to begin an indefinite strike, official sources revealed.

Other villages in the vicinity and in neighbouring districts had protested against Indian defence authorities alleging wrongdoing in acquisition of land for an air base and an accident involving a coast guard vessel.

During the recent South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Colombo, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Mahinda Rajapakse jointly stated the killings would end.

Following the announcement, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation had announced that Indian fishermen could fish freely and peacefully in the Palk Strait.

So far, over 30 Indian fishermen have lost their lives allegedly due to Sri Lankan naval firing this year.

Situated 600 km south of state capital Chennai, Rameshwaram continues to be tense owing to several issues.

Apart from firing by the neighbouring nation’s navy, dozens of fishermen have been arrested for allegedly smuggling essential supplies and ordnance inputs to the banned Tiger guerrillas.

Large numbers of tourists from northern India visit this temple town to witness the Ram Sethu - a mythical causeway believed to have been constructed by Hindu god Ram and his monkey brigade.

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