The Jaffna Fisheries Department was paralyzed for nearly 4 hours, by people demanding that the beach de mer fishermen from other districts be expelled. On a promise from the officials that action will be taken against the illegal activities of the other district fishermen, the struggle was temporarily abandoned.
Local fishermen who say that, fishermen from other districts are engaged in fishing in Vadamaradchchi coast and their illegal fishing is affecting their livelihood, are continuing to demand that the Southern fishermen be expelled. An attention drawing struggle was undertaken in front of the Maruthankerny Divisional Secretariat last Wednesday and at the end of the struggle, it was decided to paralyze the Fisheries Department. At the last moment the Fisheries Union backed out from the struggle. The struggle to paralyze the Department was undertaken under the aegis of TNPF yesterday.
The gate of the Fisheries Department located at Pannai area was locked by the strugglers at around 7.15 a.m. and staff could not enter the office. The strugglers went onto a sit in protest at the gate. They were carrying placards with slogans such as:
* Implement the Fisheries Act properly!
* Exploit not the Marine Resources !
* Hit not in the Stomach of the people !
At the start of the protest, MPc Sugirthan, Point Pedro PS Chairman, Ariyakumar and Karaveddy PS chairman, Ainkaran were present. When time went on an array of politicians including, (in the order of arrival) MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, S.Kajendran, MP, T. Siththarthan, MPcs, P.Kajatheepan, V.Sivayogan, A.Paramsothy, K.Sayanthan, Asmin, Jeyasekaram, S. Thavarasa, (at 9.00 a.m) , MP, Mawai Senathyrasa, Jaffna Mayor, E.Arnold and TNPF leader Gajendrakumar (at 9.30 a.m.) came into the struggle.
At around 11.15 a.m., the Assistant Director of Fisheries, Jaffna came to the spot and had a discussion with the Demonstrators. He assured that the boats which breach the conditions of license will be taken into custody.
Thereafter the strugglers informed him that 2 days time is being given and if proper action is not taken within that time, the struggle will be resumed on Monday. Thereafter MP Sumanthiran opened the gates of the Department premises.