A week after they began protesting in Rameswaram against the shooting of an Indian fishing boat, allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy, fishermen from Tamil Nadu have called off the protests. The move came after their meeting with Central Ministers Nirmala Seetharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan on Sunday.
On March 6, fishermen who were on a boat off the Katchatheevu islet were attacked, allegedly by the Sri Lankan navy. Bridgo, a 22-year-old, died in the firing and Saron, his colleague, was badly injured.
Speaking to The News Minute, Emerite, President of the Visaipadagu Meenavar Sangam confirmed that they are calling off the protest. “At 4pm today, we are going to bury the body of Bridgo. After that, we will decide what needs to be done to get justice for his death. Nirmala Sitharaman visited us on Sunday and has promised to take action against this incident,” he said.
“Two union ministers Pon Radhakrishnan and Nirmala Seetharaman came and met us on Sunday morning. They have promised that they will be taking steps to protect the Indian fishermen. So, we are calling off the protest today evening,” said Bose, state secretary of the Tamil Nadu Meenavar Sangam.
Emerite added that they have been called to Delhi to meet Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, to discuss the issues that fishermen face. “We will be going to meet her on March 20,” he said.
However, he added that if no solution comes out of the meeting or if their demands are not accepted, they will protest once again. “We will wait for 10 days and see if any decision is taken by the central government,” he said.
Around 3000 fishermen were protesting in Rameshwaram for the last week, and had put forward three demands: First, that the Sri Lankan navy officials who allegedly killed the Indian fisherman should be arrested. Second, that the Sri Lankan Ambassador must be sent back from India, and third, that the central government must ensure that such incidents do not happen again.
The fisher community had refused to take back Bridgo’s body till their demands were met. Bose said that the body had started decomposing, and they will bury it soon.