Goa fishermen allege harassment by Coast GuardJanuary 13th, 2009 - 8:28 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, Jan 13 (IANS) A fishermen’s body has accused Coast Guard and Indian Navy officials of harassing and assaulting fishermen working on trawlers in the Arabian Sea. The Coast Guard Tuesday denied the charge.All India Fishing Boat Owners Association (IFBOA) president Uday Chodankar said that on Friday Coast Guard sailors assaulted a trawler captain at sea.
“They came on board ‘Margerita’ … and broke the trawler captain’s arm. We are not going to tolerate this anymore,” Chodankar told IANS.
Chodankar said there were nearly a dozen instances of the Coast Guard and naval sailors beating trawler hands and of vandalism by them. He said these had been reported to the association in the last 10 days.
Simon Pereira, an activist working on issues related to the fishing community located in Vasco, said: “Last week’s incident was the height. The Coast Guard people came on board and even smashed some window panes before attcking the trawler captain.”
Chodankar is galvanizing trawler operators from the Khariwado jetty in Vasco and Betul jetty in south Goa to go on a day’s strike to voice their protest against the “excesses” of the Coast Guard and the navy.
The Coast Guard has denied the allegations. At a press conference in Vasco Tuesday, a senior official said that trawler owners could be upset with the increased vigilance.
“There is no question of harassment. On Dec 30 we seized seven trawlers operating without proper documents, which may have propelled the campaign against the Coast Guard,” the official said.