Protests in Rameswaram after fisherman shot dead by Lankan navy

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Rameswaram, March 07: Bridgo, a  22-year-old Tamil Nadu fisherman was shot dead by the Sri Lankan navy on Monday, while he was fishing in a mechanised boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet, fisheries department officials said.

On yesterday evening when Bridgo, from Thangachimadam in central Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu, was fishing near the islet along with others and the Sri Lankan navy personnel came to the spot and opened fire, Fisheries Department Assistant Director Kulanchinathan said.
Bridgo was shot in the neck and died on the spot, another fisherman, Saravanan (22), hurt injuries in his leg in the firing while others fishermen went along with them escaped unhurt and returned to the shore at 12.30 AM, Kulanchinathan said.

“More than 2,000 fishermen were fishing well within Indian waters when the Sri Lankan naval personnel came to the spot taking them by surprise. The Lankan navy officials did not even fire a warning shot’, alleged Rameswaram Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja.

The body of Bridgo has been brought to the Rameswaram hospital and a case has been registered at the Jetty police station.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in the area as fishermen from Thangachimadam coastal hamlet gathered in front of the hospital to protest the firing of Sri Lankan navy.

People have assembled at the home of Bridgo in Rameswaram, and his family has refused to accept his body without an assurance of action, says the local reports from there.

This incident comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami wrote a terse letter to Narendra Modi, claiming that the state’s fishermen have been left to the mercy of the Sri Lankan navy.

In a letter to Modi, Tamil Nadu CM Palanisamy had referred to the arrest of 32 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan authorities in the last few days and said these incidents were causing hardship and mental agony to the fishermen community in the area.

At present there were 85 fishermen and 128 fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody, he had urged Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry officials concerned to take concrete action through diplomatic channels to secure their release.

Fishermen in Rameswaram are now outraged by the latest incidence of ‘violence by the Sri Lankan navy’.Earlier, they have decided to boycott the Katchatheevu festival.

” We have already started the protest in Rameswaram. There are about ten thousand people here. We will not accept the body of Bridgo till the Central Government helps us. We should also continue the protest against this incident. The shooting has happened because of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central Government. They did not take any immediate action when the fishermen were arrested,” said Bose, Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Meenavar Sangam.