Chennai, Dec 3, (): Country boat fishermen are sore that mechanized boats who are to fish only five nautical miles from coast do not follow the norm .Mechanised boat owners posed a serious threat to their livelihood by exploiting the fish wealth they told in a meeting during the coordination committee meeting held at Manamelkudi near Pudukottai yesterday with the Coastal Security Group.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Coastal Security Group, S Amsavalli advised the representatives of the mechanised boat owners, who were also present at the meeting, to resolve the issue, taking into consideration the plight of the country boat owners.
Over 3500 fishermen who do fishing in trawlers for the fourth day in Rameshwaram did not go to sea protesting the arrest of five fishermen by Sri Lankan navy. Registered 850 trawlers did not go to sea and around 10,000 have been rendered jobless. A fisherman working on a trawler is paid Rs1000 per trip and part of the catch. The trip may last a few days.
Yesterday Ramanathapuram Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), C Muthukumaran headed the peace talks in which leaders of various fishermen associations and women fisher-folk took part. Muthukumaran assured the agitating fishing folk that Tamil Nadu Government was in touch with Sri Lankan Embassy and the fishermen were expected to be released from Sri Lankan prison and repatriated to Tamil Nadu before December 7. This did not have any effect.
Fishermen’s Association took the decision to stay off sea. They say that in future this would be the pattern of the Sri Lankan Navy and it would put their future in peril. They have withstood the firing on them and navy taking away the catch and cutting their nets as well as pelting them with stones. If such drug charges are foisted on them, they would be in jail for 30 years and instead would look for other options.
Yesterday Sri Lankan High Commissioner here confirmed the worst fears of the Tamil fishermen by confirming that five of those arrested were slapped with charges of smuggling drugs. If convicted they would face 30 years in prison.