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Fishermen to strike if arrested comrades not released
Fishermen at the end of their patience, threaten direct action if demands not met.
The Federation of Fishermen’s associations of Rameswaram has threatened to opt for direct action if the 29 fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan navy and the 59 seized boats are not released before December 4, according to a resolution passed at an emergency meeting at Rameswaram on Friday.
According to another resolution, the federation threatened to go on an indefinite strike if they were not released before the above date, to agitate in front of Parliament and boycott the ensuring state elections if their demands were not met. They also demanded conducting talks immediately between India and Sri Lanka to sort out the fishermen’s issue in addition to demanding the retrieval of Katchatheevu.
Of the fishermen arrested recently, 6 were remanded to custody in Vavuniya while another 9 were jailed at Jaff¬na. The arrested have been remanded to custody till December 10.
The arrest of TN fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy becoming a regular affair has raised the hackles of the fishing community specially in Rameswaram as most of the affected are from that town. It was in this connection that CM Jayalalithaa wrote to PM Modi demanding that 11 fishermen from Rameswaram in 2 mechanised boats arrested on November 25 and another 4 from Kottaipattinam in Pudukottai district arrested the next be released immediately.
- 15 fishermen and 3 boats were apprehended on November 26 .
- 4 fishermen and 1 boat drifted off to the island and seized on Nov 8.
- Indefinite strike planned if fishermen are not released by December 4.
- Fishermen to strike before Parliament and boycott the ensuing state assembly elections
She stated in her letter that the fisherfolk were going about their work peaceably in the Palk Bay, their traditional fishing ground. Though they were arrested for trespassing and poaching in Sri Lankan waters, the issue of the international maritime boundary line (IMBL) was sub judice in the Supreme Court which also questions the validity of the 1974 and 1976 Indo Sri Lanka agreements which ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.The TN government had impleaded itself in the issue, she added.
Her letter demanded the immediate release of the seized boats and 29 fishermen including the 15 fishermen who were arrested on November 26 as also the 4 who landed on Sri Lankan shores when their boat developed mechanical failure at sea on November 8.
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