Though he held talks with fishermen leaders and priests to end the agitation, the protesters were determined to continue their stir. They submitted a seven-point charter of demands to the Minister and urged him to implement them immediately.
The demands included arrest of Sri Lankan Navy personnel, who were involved in the firing of the fishermen, like in the case of Italian Marines, snapping of diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka and send officials and Ambassadors of the island nation out of Tamil Nadu, release of boats and fishermen jailed in Lanka.
“Sri Lanka does not follow any international marine laws. The island nation is a very small country and if the government of India takes a firm stand it can stop the neighbour from indulging in such brutal acts like killing of fishermen. AIADMK is a party that is always in favour of fishermen and would always stand by them,” claimed Jayakumar.
Meanwhile, Nagapattinam taluk fishermen declared that they have started an indefinite strike from Tuesday condemning the killing of Bridjo by the Lankan navy. Following the death of K Bridjo (22), tension gripped several fishing hamlets in Nagapattinam. Members of fishermen association held a meeting in the Akkarappettai fishing hamlet.
About 50 fishermen from Keechankuppam, Akkarappettai, Pattinacherry, Nambiyar Nagar, Samandhampettai took part in the meeting, where it was decided to lauch an indefinite strike. The functionaries have also planned to call their counterparts from Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi and Cuddalore districts for a meeting in Nagapattinam on Thursday to decide the next course of action.
Following the decision of Nagapattinam Taluk fishermen, about 1,600 mechanised boats as well as 8,100 fiber glass boats did not venture into the sea and were anchored at the harbour. A similar meeting was also held at Pudukkottai and the fishermen there too declared indefinite strike.
Plan to boycott Katchatheevu festival:
In yet another development, Rameswaram fishermen have decided to boycott the St Anthony’s Church festival at Katchatheevu. The festival at Katchatheevu is scheduled to be held on March 11 and 12 and select fishermen in around 100 mechanised boats have been given permission to participate in the festival. However, in the last one week 50 fishermen were arrested. Fishermen claim that the arrests were carried out with an intention to threaten the fishermen from participating in the church festival. However, the Monday’s killing by the Lankan Navy had forced fishermen to boycott the church festival. Emiret, a fishermen leader, claimed that it was customary for Rameswaram fishermen to participate in the festival and this year their entry had been greatly restricted.