Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly attacked Tamil Nadu fishermen with stones besides ramming and sinking a mechanised boat and destroying fishing nets of several other vessels off Dhanushkodi, a Fishermen Association functionary said on Thursday. The Lankan naval personnel cut fishing nets of about 70 boats and pelted stones and bottles forcing more than 2,000 fishermen to flee and return to the shore here this morning, Tamil Nadu Mechanised Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja told reporters in Rameshwaram.
Windscreens of some of the boats suffered damage, he said. The fishermen from this region had put out to sea in 437 mechanised fishing boats last night and were fishing off Dhanushkodi sea when Lankan Naval personnel allegedly rammed their vessel against one of the boats, Sesuraja said. Under the impact of the collision, the boat broke into two pieces and sank, he claimed, adding five fishermen on board were left to struggle in the sea till fellow fishermen rescued them.
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The latest incident comes a day after five fishermen from Pudukottai District were detained by Sri Lankan Naval personnel along with their boat. Condemning the incident, Sesuraja said such an attack taking place when Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was on a visit to India and holding talks with his counterpart Narendra Modi caused deep anguish.
“When the Prime Ministers of the two countries are holding talks, the attack on Indian fishermen has taken place. It causes deep anguish. The two leaders should find a permanent solution to the recurring problem,” he told PTI. Stating that the livelihood of the state fishermen was at stake, he said the two countries should hold talks and find a permanent solution to the problem of fishing in the Palk Strait.
An early resolution of the issue was important as more than 100 seized boats of Tamil Nadu fishermen were anchored in Lankan waters and faced the danger of suffering damage in view of the coming North East monsoon, he added.