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Sri Lankan Navy attacks fishermen, cuts nets

Rameswaram fishermen have complained that Sri Lankan Navy personnel in patrol boats attacked them and damaged their fishing nets, while fishing near the Katchatheevu on Sunday.

Sri Lankan Navy attacks fishermen, cuts nets
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A section of fishermen, who had lost their nets in an attack by Sri Lankan Navy

Madurai

The Sri Lankan government and Navy had been repeatedly warning the fishermen not to indulge in fishing near the Katchatheevu and recently a Sri Lankan Minister had warned the Tamil Nadu fishermen that those fishing near Katchatheevu would be arrested. 

On Saturday, more than 3,500 fishermen in around 600 boats had gone for fishing from Rameswaram. When they went near the Katchatheevu, they saw the Sri Lankan Navy patrolling in seven boats. They returned towards the Gulf of Mannar. Again, in the night, they went near the Katchatheevu. However, the Sri Lankan patrol boats were stationed at the same spot. 

When fishermen tried to get near the island, the Navy personnel started attacking them with stones and bottles. In the attack, some of the fishermen suffered injuries. 

Alex, a fisherman, who was injured in the attack, said, “The Sri Lankan Navy men surrounded our boats and attacked us with stones and bottles. They had also cut our nets. Because of the atrocities of the Sri Lankan Navy, more than 10 boats had suffered damage of over Rs 1 lakh.” 

Around 300 boats suffered loss of windows, fishing equipment, etc to the tune of Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 in the attack, he claimed.  Alex urged the Centre and state to take immediate steps to stop such attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

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