VIOLENT CLASHES broke out between fishing boat owners and fishermen in coastal town of Jafrabad in Amreli district on Thursday after the former refused to pay the latter for two months when fishing operations were suspended due to lockdown.
“The boat owners told fishermen that they won’t pay them for the two months when fishing had remained suspended due to lockdown. However, fishermen insisted that they be paid as their contract was for the entire year. This led to a dispute. Additionally, fishermen are challenging the dominance of Patels, self-styled community leaders. Due to all this, the two groups faced off, injuring two persons from either side,” Superintendent of Police of Amreli, Nirlipt Rai told The Indian Express.
Rai said that police tried to broker truce between the two groups but had to use force when all other efforts failed. “We had to lob 10 shells of tear gas to control the violence. The situation is under control now,” Rai said later in the evening.
While fishing operations had officially been exempted from lockdown, fishing had remained suspended by and large as fish processing and transportation faced hurdles due to lockdown. The lockdown had begun on March 25 and restrictions remained in place till May 17.
The clashes also come at a time when less than four weeks are left before the fishing season ends on June 15.
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