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Indian fishermen threaten to seek ‘asylum’ in SL


11 August 2013 03:47 am - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Frustrated by the frequent arrest of fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan Navy and the delay in their release, fishermen in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu yesterdaysaid that they might have to seek ‘asylum’ in Sri Lanka if the governments at the State and Centre fail to secure the release of 65 fishermen currently in prison in Sri Lanka.

Members of the fishing community belonging to eight habitations of the Nagapattinam block, who are on an indefinite strike demanding the release of the jailed fishermen, held a Kudankulam-style offshore protest by lining up over 400 boats at sea bearing black flags. The fishing community has been on strike since the July 30 arrest of the fishermen from Nagapattinam and Karaikal.

“If the fishermen are not released on August 21, the date up to which they have been remanded, we will hoist white flags on our boats and move en masse into Sri Lankan waters as “refugees of livelihood,” Gauthaman of Keechankuppam said.

While over 400 mechanized and fibre boats, bearing black flags, lined up on the waves, several hundred women dotted the beach with black flags. The women played out mournful acts of bereavement and loss and demanded justice for their men. According to them, the repeated attacks were assaults on their traditional way of life and their right to livelihood. If the governments could guarantee them life and security, they should be given government jobs for sustenance, the women said in unison. At the same time, several hundred other boats remained docked in the harbour of Keechankuppam in Nagapattinam for the 10th day.

Speaking to The Hindu, on their charter of demands, Manoharan, a fishing community leader from Akkarapettai, said a permanent solution would have to be found in the form of ‘seasonal fishing rights’ to avoid conflicts. Such seasonal fishing rights can alternate between the fisherfolk of both countries on a bimonthly basis. The fishing community from both countries could benefit from the marine wealth that keeps shifting with the ocean currents, he said. The fishermen have also demanded that a joint Committee of the Indian Centre and the State, along with fishing representatives from both countries, be constituted to arrive at an amicable arrangement.

According to the fishermen, there were unconfirmed reports of fishermen being held for alleged smuggling of narcotics and fishing equipment from the Sri Lankan coast.
“If these were indeed true, the Sri Lankan state should refrain from foisting cases on the fishermen, who tread into the waters in search of livelihood,” said Gauthaman. (The Hindu)

  Comments - 5

  • Jumbuli-jumba Sunday, 11 August 2013 05:17 AM

    Indian fishermen claim that they are being harassed/killed by our navy? How can now Sri Lanka becomes a better country for them when Tamil people continue to leave for Australia illegally seeking asylum?

    Flatwhite Sunday, 11 August 2013 08:47 AM

    This shows the state of the Tamil nadu state championed by Karu and Jaya. SL should never allow assylum to indians as india is a bigger country and they can take assylum in a different state.

    Boobamba Sunday, 11 August 2013 10:49 AM

    In case our fishermen are faced with a similar situation will India or any other country grant them assylum?

    sanaboy Sunday, 11 August 2013 11:00 AM

    Munta pissu

    Trehan Munasinghe Sunday, 11 August 2013 01:51 PM

    Please Please send those Indian's back to where ever they came from... We don't want them in Sri Lanka...

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