India’s rights panel seeks report on killing of fishermen

Monday, 21 March 2011 00:49 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

New Delhi (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought a report from the Ministry of External Affairs on a complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Nitin Gadkari about the killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen reportedly by the Sri Lankan navy.

According to a BJP statement Saturday, the petition referred to the ‘barbaric killing of more than 500 innocent Tamil fishermen in the past’.

The NHRC notice mentioned that such innocent fishermen are often shot at or tortured by the Sri Lankan Navy and the Indian government is doing nothing to protect them, the statement said.

Gadkari had moved the commission 3 March to seek directions to the central and state governments to stop the killings and torture of Tamil fishermen.

Gadkari, accompanied by BJP National Secretary Murlidhar Rao and Tamil Nadu BJP president Radhakrishnan, visited the NHRC.

He alleged that there had been an escalation in attacks on Tamil fishermen at sea during the United Progressive Alliance government’s rule.

Gadkari urged the commission to enquire from the state government if charge sheets had been filed in the cases related to the killings and if any prosecution has been made.

Gadkari also said that the Indo-Sri Lanka joint working group (JWG) on fishing should be reactivated.

The statement said that the BJP will raise the fishermen’s issue during the coming Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.

High security zones shrink in North

Implementing the reconciliation measures suggested by the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee (IAC) Sri Lanka government is gradually releasing the lands occupied by the military as high security zones (HSZs) in the country, especially in the North.

The government said that as civil and public administration was getting streamlined along with other development programmes under the Northern Spring development programme and the Police have restored law and order in the peninsula, the Army is moving out of the populated areas into state lands.

The authorities on Thursday opened the Victoria Road in the Jaffna town which had been a restricted zone for 16 years. Releasing the Victoria Road marked the removal of High Security Zones in the Jaffna town, the government said.

Sri Lanka Army recently handed over the Subash Hotel, a landmark hotel in Jaffna to its owners after occupying it for 15 years. The 51 Division Headquarters operated in the hotel was relocated to Kopay.  The government said the Army occupies only a few permanent buildings currently on a rental basis with the consent of their owners and those buildings will also be handed back to the owners in due course.