While rejecting reports that Sri Lanka navy attacked a group of Indian fishermen off the Kodiakarai coast, the government today expressed concern over the large number of Indian fishermen fishing in the Sri Lankan waters.
Issuing a statement the external affairs ministry said that, “the Sri Lanka Navy expresses concern over the large number of fishermen from Southern India crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and fishing in Sri Lankan waters on a regular basis and in this regard, the Sri Lanka Navy confirms the arrest of 16 fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters off the north-western coast on 3 March 2013.”
It also said that after media reports on 7 March 2013 on an incident of alleged firing at Indian fishermen by the Sri Lanka Navy off the Kodiakarai coast, an investigation has been carried out. “It was revealed that Sri Lanka Naval vessels had not entered Indian waters at any time either on 6 or 7 March 2013, as alleged. It was further revealed that no Sri Lankan Naval craft had opened fire at any fishing vessel or any other object on 6 or 7 March 2013 in the area,” it said.
“The Sri Lanka Navy reiterates its commitment to not use force under any circumstances and extend humane treatment to all fishermen at all times,” the ministry added.