Sri Lankan Navy kills Indian fisherman, Colombo promises probe
Chennai/New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) A Tamil Nadu fisherman was shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy in the sea dividing the two countries. As India voiced “deep concern”, Colombo promised a thorough probe.
Six fishermen from Thangachimadam in Ramanathapuram district were fishing near the Katchatheevu islet when the Navy targeted them on Monday night, Indian officials said on Tuesday.
Katchatheevu is located in the narrow Palk Straits dividing India and Sri Lanka. The sea near the island is rich in marine life, leading to frequent clashes between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.
Hundreds of fishermen launched a protest at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu against the killing. Another fisherman was injured.
The Sri Lankan Navy promised “a full and thorough probe” into the incident after India took up the matter at the highest level, informed sources said.
India voiced deep concern over the killing.
Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu took up the matter with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the sources said.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the dead fisherman, K. Britso, and a compensation of Rs 1 lakh for the injured fisherman.
The attack comes a day after Palaniswami wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking the release of 85 fishermen and their 128 boats now in Sri Lankan custody.
PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday condemned the killing and said New Delhi should stop terming Sri Lanka as a friendly nation.
“They were first attacked by the Sri Lankan Navy with grenades and then were shot at,” Ramadoss said in Chennai.
He said attacks on the Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy have been happening for the past 30 years, leaving more than 800 fishermen dead.
Ramadoss said India and Sri Lanka had agreed that fishermen crossing the maritime boundary by mistake should not be attacked but handled in a humane manner.
“It seems Sri Lanka is not willing to abide by any agreement,” he said.
He said the Tamil Nadu government should put pressure on the Indian and Sri Lankan governments to arrest the Navy personnel who killed the Indian.