‘Settle island issue to save fishermen’

A day after the arrest of 31 TN men by Sri Lankan Navy, fishermen from Rameswaram alleged that the island nation’s navy personnel again resorted to tough action by damaging their fishing gear on Monday
‘Settle island issue to save fishermen’
Photo: V Bala

Chennai

“On Sunday, when we ventured into the sea in around 50 boats as part of our work we were chased thrice by the Sri Lankan Navy,” Antony, a fisherman from Rameswaram told DTNext and added that the navy personnel have also damaged the fishing gear.
Alleging that the attacks on Indian fishermen was increasing day by day, he said that the Sri Lankan Navy even throws stones on them and their boats. “Why should the navy indulging in stone-throwing” he questioned. 
Speaking to DTNext, Rameswaram district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mechanised Boat Fishermen Association B Jesuraja said that the Sri Lankan Navy has set up a permanent camp at Katchatheevu especially to target the fishermen from Tamil Nadu. 
“Unless the Central and State governments find a solution to the Katchatheevu issue, there will be no relief for us from the Lankan navy’s atrocities ever,” he felt. According to him, fishermen cannot restrict themselves to fishing on the Indian side of the International Maritime Boundary Line as fishing is possible only in 5 out of the 12 nautical miles. 
“Of late, the number of people who take to fishing has increased and so we have to cross the boundary,” Jesuraja said. Fishermen at Rameswaram also claimed that since the Sri Lankan Navy damaged the fishing gears regularly, they were now burdened with huge loans, which they had taken to repair damaged equipment. 
As of now, around 64 fishermen have been lodged in various prisons in Sri Lanka after they were arrested on charges of breaching the IMBL.

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