The mortal remains of Pudukottai fisherman R Rajkiran were handed over to his family on Saturday, October 23 by the Sri Lankan Navy, five days after his death. Rajkiran allegedly died after a Sri Lankan Navy vessel rammed into the boat that he and two others were travelling in, on October 18. The two other fishermen are still in the custody of the Sri Lankan Navy.
Minister for Law, S Ragupathy placed a wreath over the body of the Kottaipattinam based fisherman R Rajkiran in Pudukottai district. Fishermen and the local people paid homage. The Minister also handed over a cheque of Rs 10 lakh, a solatium ordered by Chief Minister M K Stalin, to the bereaved family.
According to reports, on October 18, three fishermen S Suganthan (22), A Xavier (32) and Rajkiran (28) had ventured into the sea and a Sri Lankan Naval vessel had rammed into their boat. When the fishermen spotted the Navy vessel they tried to escape. However, the Navy vessel reportedly rammed into the fleeing boat, knocking all three fishermen into the sea. While two men were later pulled out by the Navy and taken into custody, Rajkiran âwent missing.â The incident happened near Neduntheevu Island on Monday night.
For the past few days, the fishermen in the area had been demanding the state and Union governments to make arrangements to bring the fishermen back to India. However, on Wednesday, it was found that Rajkiran had died.
Rajkiran's family then had been making demands that his body be sent to Tamil Nadu for last rites. The family as well as the fisher community and members of the fishermen association had staged protests, demanding that Rajkiran's body be returned to India.
Following the mounting demands, the Sri Lankan Navy sent the body to Kottaipattinam village in Pudukottai district on Saturday afternoon. The other two fishermen who are in Sri Lankan custody had been detained at Kankesanthurai in Jaffna.
A statement released by the Sri Lankan Navy states that they were engaged in chasing away Indian trawlers, and one vessel, âwith aggressive maneuvers resisted the chase,â and this allegedly was the reason for mid-sea collision.
Chief Minister MK Stalin announced Rs 10 lakh death compensation to the family of the deceased. Rajkiran reportedly leaves behind a newly-wed bride, whom he had married only 40 days ago.
It is important to note that earlier in January this year, four fishermen from Pudukottai had died allegedly after their boat sank when the Sri Lankan Navy tried to arrest them. The fishermen had expressed their disappointment in Tamil Nadu and the Union governmentâs handling of matters concerning Tamil fishermen.
Also read: Arrested at sea, adrift on land: Tamil Nadu fishers struggle with boats stuck in Sri Lanka