TN CM Palaniswami condemns fisherman shooting, calls out Lankan Navy’s ‘constant harassment’

State fisheries Minister Jayakumar has hit out at the Centre for dragging its feet on the issue.
TN CM Palaniswami condemns fisherman shooting, calls out Lankan Navy’s ‘constant harassment’
TN CM Palaniswami condemns fisherman shooting, calls out Lankan Navy’s ‘constant harassment’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy has condemned the shooting of the 22-year-old fisherman by the Sri Lankan Navy.

In a press release, following Bridgo's death, the Chief Minister stated that he had informed the Centre multiple times about the Sri Lankan navy's constant harassment. According to Government release, the fishermen from Ramanathapuram district were fishing in Palk straits, an area “which they have traditionally carried out activities in”.

At around 9.30 pm, personnel of Sri Lankan Navy reportedly opened fire at the “innocent fishermen” without any warning. A 22-year-old fisherman was killed in shooting and another fisherman, Saron suffered injuries in his leg. The injured fisherman is currently undergoing treatment in the Ramanathapuram Government hospital.

"Tamil Nadu fishermen who are out in the sea for their daily livelihood, are jailed, harassed by the Sri Lankan navy. Even their boats are taken away," alleged the Chief Minister. Expressing his condolences, Palaniswami announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for Bridgdo’s family, in addition to Rs 1 lakh for the fisherman who was injured.

Speaking to reporters, Tamil Nadu's Fisheries Minister Jayakumar said that retrieving Katchatheevu is the only solution to the problem. He also chose to politicise the issue, blaming the Centre for dragging its feet on the issue.

"After Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave away the islet to Sri Lanka, the then DMK Government failed to oppose the move. Since then, talks have been going on between both countries but there has been no end to this problem. The Centre should put a full stop to this harassment and stop dragging its feet," said the Fisheries Minister.

Opposition leader MK Stalin has also strongly condemned the killing of an Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. "It is high time the Centre reacted strongly to this problem. Central Government cannot be a mute spectator. They should take up this issue with the Indian ambassador in Sri Lanka or the High Commission of Sri Lanka in India," said the DMK working President.

Former Union Minister and PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, claimed that the  Government will have to file an FIR and then approach the High Court to get a warrant to arrest the accused. "This is the only way to prevent such incidents in the future. If the Tamil Nadu Government doesn't do this, then the PMK will. Not only the External Affairs Minister, even the Prime Minister must come out and condemn this incident," he demanded

The Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan was  muted in her response. She claimed that the External Affairs Ministry will investigate the matter and find out who is responsible.

The CPM however, has put the onus on the State and central Government to find a permanent solution. Tamil Nadu CPM General Secretary, G Ramakrishnan told the media that, "This has been a continuous story and the shooting of a fisherman by the Sri Lankan navy is a condemnable act."

Fishermen's associations in Rameswaram have meanwhile, began protests against the shooting. They have claimed that there must be a permanent solution to the problem. 

Fishermen have listed three demands that must be met by the government. "There are about 2000 to 3000 people who are protesting here in Thangachimadam in Rameswaram. Even students are joining our protests and we will continue this agitation till our demands are met.  We want the Sri Lankan Navy officials who shot the fisherman to be arrested first. The Sri Lankan ambassador in India must be sent back and the Fisheries Minister must assure us that such an incident won't happen again," said Emerite, President of the Visaipadagu Meenavar Sangam.

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