Sri Lankan Navy fires on Indian fishermen, two killed (Lead)

July 12th, 2008 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Nagappattinam (Tamil Nadu), July 12 (IANS) Two Indian fisherman were killed when a Sri Lankan Navy vessel allegedly opened fire on their fishing boat, a survivor of the incident said here Saturday. The bodies of the fishermen were brought ashore after K. Murali, a fisherman injured in the shooting in the wee hours of Saturday, tipped off relatives on a mobile phone that his mates S. Vasagan and N. Narayanswamy were killed in “unprovoked” firing by the Sri Lankan Navy in the Palk Straits.

The Sri Lankan mission in Chennai, 350 km north of here, was unavailable for comment.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) announced Saturday it would picket the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai July 30 to protest the “incessant killing of innocent Indian fishermen by the island’s navy”.

Announcing the protest in a statement, CPI state secretary D. Pandiyan also called on the central government to raise the issue of “unacceptable behaviour” of the Sri Lankan Navy at during the SAARC summit next month.

“It is unfortunate that the poor fishermen were killed in cold blood on a boat that was granted to them as part of the rehabilitation package since the 2004 tsunami. We will network other like-minded parties to take part in the protest,” Pandiyan added.

Earlier, PMK and VCK also condemned the incident and demanded the intervention of the state and central governments to “immediately stop the carnage”.

Meanwhile, the ongoing indefinite strike by fishermen in Rameshwaram, situated some 300 km south of here, continued peacefully. They are protesting against alleged violence on over 1,000 Indian boatmen by the Sri Lankan naval personnel July 2.

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

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