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HomeEnglishTamil fishers in north besiege Indian consulate demanding halt to poaching

Tamil fishers in north besiege Indian consulate demanding halt to poaching

 

Tamil fishermen from Sri Lanka’s northern province have issued a stark warning that “consequences” can’t be avoided if the poaching by the Indian fishermen in the Sri Lankan territorial waters does not stop.

“If action is not taken to stop the Indian trawlers unfortunate events happening in the sea can’t be avoided” the fishermen protesting in front of the Consulate General of India in Jaffna on Tuesday (20).

The protestors demanded an immediate end to the trawlers from India entering their waters.

“Indian fishermen’s trawler crossing the border and entering into the Northern Sea should be stopped and the livelihood of the Tamil fishermen should be saved,” Anthonypillai Francis Ratnakumar, Vice-President, Federation of Jaffna Fishermen Cooperative Societies told local media after the protest.

He added the poaching by the Indian Fishermen has pushed them to the brink.

“We are going to die due to the Indian trawlers. This is going to turn into a continuous protest for sure. We need a solution within a few days. If not a continuous protest will start and unfortunate incidents will happen at the sea”.

Many fishermen organizations from Jaffna which jointly organized the protest in from of the Consulate lay siege to it as part of their protest.

Protestors chanted slogans against the Indian Government and carried placards asking the Indian Government to stop the poaching.

“Indian Government-don’t plunder our resources, allow us to live”.

Police had barricaded the area around the Consulate General’s Office to stop the protesting fishermen to stop them entering the complex. While the protesting fishermen demanded to meet the Consulate General, permission was initially denied to them.

However, subsequently, a team of eight fishermen were allowed to meet the Consul General Rakesh Natraj, and hand over a petition to him demanding to stop the illegal entry of the Indian trawlers into Sri Lankan waters. Meanwhile, Rakesh Natraj is returning to New Delhi after the completion of his tenure and a new incumbent has also been named.

The fishermen also protested against the lack of seriousness by the Sri Lankan Navy in controlling the Indian trawlers crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line and entering their waters.

“We kindly inform our Navy, that their action in arresting Indian fishermen doesn’t give us fullest satisfaction. The arrests should continue. The arrests are being just done for namesake. Arrests should be big and bold. When you do that you can save our livelihood, resolve our misery, and would be supportive to us.”

Meanwhile, Indian fishermen in Rameswaram have announced a boycott of the annual Catholic festival in Katchatheevu protesting Sri Lanka navy arrest of poaching fishermen and their boats.

Catholics from India are unable to make the pilgrimage to the annual festival on February 23rd and 24th due to the fishermen’s strike, parish priest of the Rameswaram St. Joseph’s church had written to local authorities.

Poaching by Indian fishermen has jeopardized the livelihood of thousands of farmers in the Northern Province since the brutal war came to a bloody end in May 2009.

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