Indian political parties demand release of fishermen in Lanka
In a statement, Ramadoss said 29 fishermen from Akkaraipettai in Nagapattinam district were fishing near Point Calimere when the Sri Lankan navy attacked and apprehended them. Even though parties in Tamil Nadu have been claiming that fishermen are being taken forcibly by the Sri Lankan navy, the naval website has been posting documents of the coordinates of the Indian fishermen held by them. The recent detention of 29 fishermen was carried out 7 nautical miles northeast off Kokilai in Trincolmalee, according to the Sri Lankan navy. “Incidents of the Sri Lankan navy falsely framing Indian fishermen and of the Sri Lankan navy infiltrating Indian waters have increased. Apprehending innocent fishermen and remanding them in custody for nearly 3 months in prison are human rights violations and is a very dangerous trend followed by Sri Lanka,” he charged. With 84 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and 10 from Karaikal languishing in Sri Lankan prisons, Indian political parties are demanding their immediate release, the Times of India reported.Pattali Makkal Katchi leader S Ramadoss alleged that Sri Lankan navy personnel were forcefully taking the fishermen from Indian waters and charging them falsely for trespassing into Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. In 2015, Sri Lankan naval agencies (coast guard & navy) apprehended 466 fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in 27 apprehensions.Post Diwali, 94 fishermen, including 10 fishermen from Karaikal, were apprehended and lodged in various prisons.Of the 94 fishers, 25 are from Rameswaram, 8 from Mandapam, 18 from Pudukottai, 33 from Nagapattinam and 10 from Karaikal. Ramadoss said that when the territorial borderline is very narrow, it is not right to detain fishermen for trespassing. Hence, a long lasting solution has to be sought.“The centre should ensure that both countries arrive at an amicable agreement to engage in fishing activities. Efforts should be taken to immediately release the detained fishermen and their boats,” he said. Four country boat fishermen from Point Calimere were stranded in Mannar coast on November 7. These four are yet to accounted in the count given by the state government.In 2015, 71 boats were detained by Sri Lanka in which 23 are from Rameswaram, 3 from Mandapam, 14 from Pudukottai, 20 from Nagapattinam, 10 from Karaikal and 1 boat from Tuticorin. Tamil Manila Congress president G K Vasan also urged the central government to ensure the release of the fishermen before the Pongal festival.Meanwhile, a Trincomalee court on Friday remanded 29 Nagapattinam fishermen held on December 30 in judicial custody till January 11. They have been lodged in the Trincomalee prison.In 2015, the Sri Lankan navy apprehended 466 fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in 27 cases. Fishermen activist U Arulanandam of the Alliance for Release of Innocent Fishermen said “a lasting solution will be to advise the fishermen of Ramanathapuram, Pudukottai and Nagapattinam to take up deep sea fishing by providing the necessary equipment. Developing the Mukkaiyur fishing harbour in Ramanathapuram will be of great help,” he said.