Locals fear the arrested may be levied huge fines under the new regulation in island nation’s law
A wave of panic swept the fishing hamlets in Pudukkottai after information about the arrest of five fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy spread in the district on Tuesday.
The five fishermen were arrested on charges of breaching the International Maritime Boarder Line (IMBL) and trespassing into the island nation waters.
Local fishermen expressed concern over the fate of their colleagues in the wake of the Sri Lankan government’s new regulation in its fisheries law under which recently a group of Thoothukudi fishermen, who were arrested on a similar charge, were slapped with a fine of Rs 60 lakh.
The fishermen, who have decided to hold a meeting on October 25 to discuss the issue and urge the central and state governments to put pressure on Sri Lanka to withdraw the draconian law, said that otherwise such a legislation of the neighbouring country would affect the life and livelihood of Indian fishermen. Fishermen from various coastal districts would attend the Thursday’s meeting. “We are already struggling due to diesel price hike and now the SL government’s new regulation has added to our pain,” R Ramadevan, Ex-Vice President of Pudukkottai Mechanised Boat owners association told DTNext.
According to sources, fishermen have decided to pass a resolution expressing strong opposition to the new regulation and send a copy to central and state governments. Sources said that Selvam (47), a boat owner from Jegathapattinam, along with Chinnaiah (50), Subramani (45), Marimuthu (38) and Palani (30) from the same place had ventured into the sea, on Monday. While they were fishing reportedly 3.5 nautical miles off the Delft island on Tuesday, a Sri Lankan navy came to the spot and arrested them claiming that they had trespassed into Sri Lankan waters.