Indian fishermen have blamed the Centre for emboldening the Sri Lankan navy

Exclusive Sri Lankan navy denies shooting Indian fishermen puts onus on India to find exact location
news Fishermen issue Tuesday, March 07, 2017 - 15:06

One fishermen was killed and another injured in a shooting in the open sea, but the Sri Lankan navy claims it wasn’t them.

Lieutenant Commander Akram Alavi of the Sri Lankan navy told The News Minute that no such incident has been reported by navy personnel who patrol the waters.

"We categorically deny this allegation by the Tamil Nadu Government and fishermen. Our personnel have only been instructed to arrest fishermen who enter our waters. Once arrested they are handed over to the Fisheries department or the police,” he said.

Putting the onus on India, he said, “Let India first figure out the exact location of the incident and then we can look into the matter further."

The denial comes even as the fishermen and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu have categorically accused the Sri Lankan navy of opening fire.

According to Edappadi Palaniswami's statement, Sri Lankan navy opened fire at an Indian fishing boat at 9.30 pm on Monday. The fishermen were shot at without any warning, he alleged.

A 22-year-old fisherman named Bridgo was killed in the shooting, and another fisherman, Saron, suffered injuries in his leg. Saron is currently undergoing treatment in the Ramanathapuram government hospital.

The Chief Minister has already written three letters to the Centre, alleging constant harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. He even questioned the lack of effort by the NDA government to bring back 85 fishermen who had been apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy last week.

The fisher community that broke into protests following the shooting claims the Centre's lack of response to their plight has emboldened the Sri Lankan navy.

"The Centre is afraid that interference will ruin their friendship with Sri Lanka. But tell me, what kind of a 'friend' shoots at your country's men?” asked Emerite, President of the Visaipadagu Meenavar Sangam.

“The violence is only increasing everyday. They used to first throw stones and bottles at us. Then they began arresting us at will. The Centre just kept quiet and watched. So now, they are even shooting at us," he said.

The Tamil Nadu Meenavar Sangam's state secretary, Bose asked, "Why didn't the Centre take action when they the attacks on our fishermen began? A 22-year-old has died now and we blame only the Central government for this."

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