Nine Indian fishermen escape unhurt after Sri Lankan navy 'opens fire'
Sri Lankan naval personnel allegedly opened fire on boats carrying nine Indian fishermen while they were returning from the Palk Straits after fishing. All the fishermen escaped unhurt.
“At least four boats in which they were on were riddled by bullets fired by the Lankan Navy and one bullet each was recovered from two boats,” Arokiyam, a fishermen’s representative, told reporters here. “Luckily, all of us escaped without any injuries,” he said.
A fisheries department official said he has received a complaint from the fishermen, seeking action to protect them.
“They had to face the Lankan bullets on their return early on Friday and the island Navy also fired in the air,” the representative alleged, adding that they had set out for fishing on
Thursday in more than 200 boats with 1,500 men.
“This is the third instance of Lankan Navy opening fire on fishermen in recent times even though they were fishing on the Indian side of Palk Strait,” the official said. “The two bullets that were found in boats were handed over to fisheries authorities,” he added.
Video clips of boats riddled by bullets surfaced in the social media as well. Rajya Sabha MP Anbumani Ramadoss tweeted saying though nine fishermen thankfully escaped unhurt, their boats were damaged. He also said that the Union government should condemn this and should provide compensation for damaged boats.
Ramadoss said the Centre should not tolerate such attacks anymore. “To find a permanent solution, the Centre should take legal steps to retrieve Katchatheevu (an islet) that was given to Sri Lanka on a platter,” he said.
Ramanathapuram MP, K Navas Kani, meanwhile, has written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, seeking appropriate steps to prevent fishermen from being targeted.