DMK to discuss Sri Lankan firing on fishermen Thursday

July 15th, 2008 - 4:06 pm ICT by IANS  


Chennai,July 15 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has called a meeting of the DMK’s high-level committee Thursday to discuss frequent instances of Sri Lankan Navy personnel firing at Indian fishermen. “At the meeting, we will decide on the recommendations to make to the Centre as to what kind of action can be taken to protect our fishermen,” DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan said in a statement Tuesday.

The International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) off Rameswaram coast, between Sri Lanka and India, has been designated a problem area by the Indian Coast Guard. In June, a high-level meeting of district administrators were provided satellite maps to show exactly where the trouble occurs.

The Sri Lankan Navy allegedly opened unprovoked firing Sunday on 100 Indian fishermen in 30 boats off the Nagappattinam coast, 350 km from here. However, no lives were lost in the incident.

On Saturday, two Indian fisherman were killed when a Sri Lankan Navy vessel allegedly opened fire on their fishing boat, a survivor of the incident had said.

In June, 300 men and their boats were captured by Sri Lankan authorities. And Indian fishermen claim there have been at least half a dozen cases of such firing in the last two months.

In 2007, three people were killed in the firing and as many as five fishermen have been killed since January this year.

Thousands of fishermen from Ramesharawm have been on a strike since July 3, protesting against alleged violence on over 1,000 Indian boatmen by the Sri Lankan naval personnel July 2.

Fishing department officials say this is resulting in a daily loss for the industry worth Rs.30 million. Fishermen from neighbouring Nagapattinam have also threatened protests in solidarity.

Many political parties too have been mounting pressure on the Tamil Nadu government to check Sri Lankan action on Indian fishermen.

India and Sri Lanka are separated by a narrow expanse of water called the Palk Straits

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