“Mischievous twists and turns being given by sections of media...to discredit the Hon’ble Defence Min’s statement that no bullets were fired.”

Media giving mischievous twists on firing on TN fishermen Coast GuardPTI File photo
news Controversy Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 14:37

The controversy surrounding the alleged firing by Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel on fishermen in Rameswaram continues to boil over. On Wednesday, the Indian Coast Guard termed reports on the Coast Guard Station Commander’s interview to sections of the media as “incorrect and mischievous”.

The Coast Guard’s latest press release comes after the Commander of the Mandapam station, NV Ramarao, had told the media that the ICG 0.22mm bullets were used by the Coast Guard.

“The Coast Guard does use 0.22 mm bullets, that is very small calibre...it’s like a small pin used in a very low calibre pistol,” said Ramarao, as reported in The Hindu.

The same calibre bullets had injured fishermen when their fishing trawler was allegedly fired upon by the Coast Guard on November 13.

The Commander’s statement to the media on Tuesday was in contradiction to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had categorically stated that the bullets allegedly fired at the fishermen are not in use by the Coast Guard.

Reiterating its previous statement that there was no use of force or any firing on the fishing boat, the Coast Guard stated, “Mischievous twists and turns being given by sections of media in Tamil Nadu to discredit the Hon’ble Defence Minister’s statement that no bullets were fired on the fishermen is therefore highly condemnable. It will therefore be-hove well for all concerned to check the facts before commenting.”

The ICG press release also said, “Coast Guard Station Commander being quoted by some of the media channels, has himself clearly stated that the Coast Guard Ship in question is not under his command and therefore he can’t confirm or deny anything on the incident. There is absolutely no mention made by the officer regarding use of any force or bullets on the fishermen in Jehovah Jireh.”

Ramarao had at the same press conference said that he could not confirm or deny if Coast Guard personnel had fired warning shots on fishermen, stating that the ship allegedly involved in the incident, ‘ICG Rani Abbakka’, was from Chennai and not under his command.

On November 13, two fishermen were injured in Indian waters after their fishing boat Jehovah Jireh came under fire allegedly from the Indian Coast Guard.

A complaint by one of the fishermen states that after they stopped their boat, the Coast Guard personnel beat them with sticks and iron rods. Live Mint reported that the Coast Guard personnel also allegedly beat up the fishermen for not knowing Hindi.    

Following the complaint, the marine police of the Coastal Security Group registered an FIR against Coast Guard personnel belonging to the Rani Abbakka vessel. They have been booked under IPC Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 307 (attempt to murder) and under Section 27(1) of the Arms Act, 1959, reported The Hindu.

However, in its November 14 press release, the Coast Guard denied firing upon or using force against the fishermen. The ICG stated that it had routinely investigated the fishing boat, which was engaged in illegal pair trawling and had cautioned the fishermen in a peaceful manner.


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