Sri Lankan Navy Denies Killing Of Indian Fisherman

Representational Image

Rameshwaram, Mar. 7: The Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chaminda Walakuluge has categorically denied media reports that they shot at Indian fishermen on Monday night.
“It is stated that the Sri Lankan Navy patrols in the Northern waters are conducted by Fast Attack Craft and Fast Gun Boats and at no time, are small boats being engaged in patrols off the Northern waters since Indian trawlers are of quite large size,” the Navy said in a statement.

“No Sri Lankan Navy personnel has the permission to shoot at poaching fishermen. They cannot open fire without a authorization from the navy Commander. They only have permission to round up trawlers found poaching, and arrest the fishermen to produce them before court.”

-Chaminda Walakuluge, Lieutenant Commander, Sri Lankan Navy

Earlier, it was reported that a group of fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who were fishing between Danushkodi and Katchatheevu off the Tamil Nadu coast, were allegedly fired by small boats of the Sri Lankan Navy in which one fisherman, 21-year-old K Bristo was killed.

Fishermen leaders from Tamil Nadu today morning alleged that he was among the six fishermen on board a mechanized trawler that the “Sri Lankan Navy targeted”.

The Sri Lankan navy also said that the patrolling boats are clearly instructed to arrest fishermen poaching inside Sri Lankan territorial waters and are subsequently handed over to the Sri Lankan Fisheries authorities for onward legal action.
A report saying that at present there are 146 Indian trawlers and 85 fishermen arrested for poaching in the Sri Lankan waters, awaiting legal action.
However, the Srilankan Navy said that since there is an allegation of a shooting incident, it is take out a detailed investigation to find out the accuracy of this alleged incident.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India has said the Government of India is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman, adding that the Sri Lankan Navy has promised a full and thorough investigation in the matter.

“The India Government is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman by Lankan Navy. Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Navy has promised a detailed investigation,”

-MEA official spokesperson Gopal Baglay  in a statement.

The body of Bristo, who killed in the incident was brought to the Rameshwaram Government Hospital at around 12:30 p.m.
According to reports, around 500 boats went for fishing on Friday evening from Rameshwaram and around 9 p.m. the Sri Lankan navy started firing in which Bristo died of the bullet injury on his neck and another man named Saravanan got injured.

Three more fishermen have suffered injuries in the firing which occurred in Adambalam, a territory comes under  India.  Meanwhile, a case had been registered in the local police station.
On last week, 15 Indian fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy and all their equipment and fishing gear were taken away by the navy persons.
Yesterday’s incident of firing comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy wrote to the Prime Minister over it not taking concrete steps to stop the steady harassment of fishermen from Tamil Nadu.
The letter spoke in detail about how Indian fishermen were constantly being hauled by the Lankan Navy and also about their equipment and boats being seized without any law being followed.

(With ANI Inputs)