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Fishermen strike enters second day

Chennai, Dec 1 (): Demanding the release of five Indian fishermen detained by a court in Sri Lanka for allegedly fishing the waters of the island nation an indefinite strike by fishermen entered the second day. It is being observed by the Fishermen of Merchandized fishing boats of the Island town of Rameswaram.

According to reports, the Sri Lankan Navy caught five fishermen at mid sea on the charges of cross-border fishing on Monday last. The fishermen were remanded to judicial custody. To protest against the frequent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen and demanding immediate release of all the five arrested fishermen, the Rameswaram fishermen began an indefinite strike yesterday.

The Chief Minister had on many occasions taken up the matter of Sri Lankan navy arresting fishermen from Tamil Nadu for alleged violation of its terrority. It was raised in a meeting with SL President by India’s foreign secretary Rajan Mathai.

Jayalalithaa lined up the 16 incidents of apprehension and harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen sinceher coming to power in May this year. Four fishermen were arrested on June 2 as they were stranded on the Sri Lankan coast; 23 fishermen were apprehended and five mechanised fishing boats seized on June 20; and a country boat was seized and 14 fishermen were arrested on July 4.None of these have had any effect.

The Chief Minister suggested that Indian fishermen be allowed to enjoy their traditional rights of fishing around Katchatheevu and this issue also be taken up with Colombo. The Indian Coast Guard’s suggestion in Madurai Court  that Tamil Nadu proclaim a ‘no fishing zone’ within five nautical miles of the Indo-Sri Lankan International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and impose strict punitive measures on defaulters invited flak from all political parties.