Tuesday 22 May 2018
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Rameswaram fishermen back in sea

Rameswaram fishermen back in sea

Ending their 10-day strike against the Sri Lankan Navy that allegedly shot dead a member of their fraternity K. Britjo (21), fishermen resumed fishing on Saturday with more than 3,000 of them venturing into the sea.

After fishermen leaders called off the indefinite strike launched on March 7, Fisheries Department officials issued fishing permits to about 600 trawlers at the fishing jetty here.

“As the Centre has called us for talks to sort out issues and the fisherfolk too suffered for want of livelihood, we have decided to call off the strike,” fishermen leader P. Sesu Raja said.

The fishermen set out for fishing on Saturday morning and there has not been any adverse report so far, he said.

Hours after the Sri Lankan Navy arrested 24 fishermen, including 15 from Rameswaram, on charges of poaching in Sri Lankan waters on March 5, leaders of 11 fishermen associations adopted resolutions to boycott the Katchatheevu festival and launch an indefinite strike.

Later, they intensified the agitation after the Sri Lankan Navy allegedly shot dead Britjo on the night of March 6. Refusing to accept the body, hundreds of fishermen staged protest at Thangachimadam and they called off the protest on March 13 after Union Ministers Pon Radhakrishnan and Nirmala Sitharaman promised to consider their demands and facilitate meeting with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar.

A ten-member delegation of fishermen and BJP leaders would leave for Delhi on March 20 to hold talks with Mr. Jaishankar the next day. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was likely to meet the delegation, said BJP district president K. Muraleedharan, who is part of the delegation.

The delegation comprised fishermen leaders U. Arulanandham, P Sesu Raja, N Devadoss, Justin, Simon and Alphonse. They would be accompanied by BJP leaders D. Kuppuramu, Suba Nagarajan, and Sathish.

The delegation would press for legal action against the Sri Lankan navy personnel, who fired at Indian fishermen and urge the Centre to secure compensation for the kin of the deceased fisherman from Lankan government.

It would press for securing the release of 138 boats impounded in Sri Lanka and seek time bound solution for peaceful fishing in the Palk Bay, Palk Straits, and Gulf of Mannar, Mr. Arulanandham said. (The Hindu)

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