Alleged auctioning of Indian fishermen’s boats by Sri Lanka condemned

Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

An Indian Tamil party leader has strongly condemned the reported auctioning of Indian fishermen’s boats by Sri Lanka. S. Ramdoss the founder of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) on Friday strongly condemned the reports that Sri Lankan government was auctioning the boats seized from the Indian fishermen, The Hindu reported. He said the Sri Lankan government’s act has shocked the Indian fishermen. Sri Lanka has adopted a policy to confiscate the boats seized from the Indian fishermen who are arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for poaching in the country’s territorial waters. The government releases the fishermen after producing them before a magistrate and remanding them for a brief period while detaining the seized boats to deter the fishermen from returning. Stating that Sri Lanka navy had seized 72 boats from all over Tamil Nadu, Ramdoss said the Indian fishermen’s boats got damaged as they were not maintained and left uncared in the open sea. Indian Coast Guard on the other hand was properly maintaining the boats seized from the Sri Lankan fishermen and protecting them, he noted. According to the fishing arrangement entered into between Sri Lanka and India On October 26, 2008, except in the areas of security concern and importance or sensitiveness off Sri Lankan coast, Indian fishermen could enter and fish in the traditional areas, he claimed. The arrangement between the two countries also stressed that the fishermen should not be subjected to any problem including imprisonment if they were arrested. However, the Sri Lankan government chose to ignore this arrangement, had detained the fishermen for more than 90 days and tortured them, Ramdoss alleged. It was also seizing their boats and crippling them. More than 700 families had been affected by the seizure of 72 boats. Both the State and central governments had not realized the gravity of the situation and were ignoring the problem of the fishermen, without taking any steps, he said. India should condemn such acts through the diplomatic channel and get compensation for the boats which got damaged after being seized by them, he said.