Poaching: Gotabhaya alleges TN depriving SL fishers their livelihood-Highlights TNA’s failure to take it up with India
Posted on March 15th, 2013

by Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The  Island

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Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that a section of the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet had been propagating lies against the navy at the behest of interested parties, while poaching and causing immense damage to fishery resources in the country’s northern waters.

The Defence Secretary said that much publicised claims of recent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen were lies timed for the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva. “They are working overtime to show us in bad light. Ongoing protests in Tamil Nadu are part of their overall strategy,” the outspoken official said.

“The Tamil Nadu fishing fleet is causing a major nuisance in support of the LTTE rump,” Defence Secretary Rajapaksa alleged, while recalling the use of Tamil Nadu trawlers for smuggling of weapons by the LTTE.

The chance detection and destruction of Tamil Nadu fishing trawler “ƒ”¹…”Sri Krishna’ by the Maldivian Coast Guard in May 2007 exposed what was going on. Those making false allegations against the navy had been silent when the LTTE massacred a group of Indian fishermen off Kanyakumari within Indian territorial waters in early 2007, the Defence Secretary said.

Rajapaksa said that the LTTE couldn’t be resurrected by spreading lies. Asked whether the government would take up the issue with India, the Defence Secretary said that he recently wrote to Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha explaining the situation. The Central government couldn’t allow Tamil Nadu to play politics with Sri Lanka, the official said.

The Defence Secretary emphasized that India had the wherewithal to easily prevent the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet from poaching in Sri Lankan waters. The Indian navy and its Coast Guard could effectively block the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet from crossing the Indo-Lanka maritime boundary, he said.

An irate Rajapaksa said: “They engage in bottom trawling in our waters causing immense damage. They purposely destroy fishing nets and equipment belonging to Sri Lankan fishermen. There appears to be a systematic attempt to cause damage to fishing gear belonging to our people. Our fishermen aren’t in a position to compete with large Tamil Nadu fishing fleet. India needs to take tangible action to address our concerns.”

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) should appeal to the Indian government as well as the administration in Tamil Nadu not to deprive Tamil speaking Sri Lankan fishermen of their livelihood. The TNA could no longer turn a blind eye to what was happening in northern and eastern waters, the Defence Secretary said, adding that it could be one of major issues at the forthcoming first Northern Provincial Council election.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has repeatedly declared that the PC election would be held in September, 2013.

The Defence Secretary emphasized that Tamil Nadu fishermen couldn’t be allowed to poach in Sri Lankan waters on humanitarian grounds. Those wanting us to allow Tamil Nadu fishing fleet to poach in our waters on humanitarian grounds should realize that would be inimical to our fishermen, he said. It would be interesting to conduct a survey in the northern, eastern provinces and even north western coastal areas to find out the response of the fishing community to ongoing efforts to persuade us to share our waters with Tamil Nadu fishing fleet.

The Defence Secretary said that India couldn’t be unaware of the growing resentment among northern fishermen due to ongoing large scale poaching operation. Since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the Indian government established a Consulate in Jaffna in accordance with its post-war project here.

For almost three decades those living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces had been deprived of an opportunity to exploit fisheries resources due to the conflict, the Defence Secretary said. Successive governments had no option but to impose a range of restrictions on the fishing community regardless of the consequences, he said. Restrictions on the local fishing community had been fully exploited by the Tamil Nadu fishing fleet. Now that the conflict was over local fishermen shouldn’t be deprived of their rights, the Defence Secretary said.

Asked whether additional measures would be taken to protect the local fishermen, the Defence Secretary said that those poaching in Sri Lankan waters would be legally dealt with. The navy this week detained nine Indian trawlers north of Talaimannar and south of Delft and took 53 persons into custody. The Defence Secretary said that such action was necessary to discourage poaching. Responding to a query, the Defence Secretary alleged that Tamil Nadu had benefited immensely by engaged in massive scale poaching in Sri Lankan waters. “Our crabs and lobsters are sold by poachers to various overseas suppliers, whereas Sri Lankan fishermen experience economic difficulties,” he said.

10 Responses to “Poaching: Gotabhaya alleges TN depriving SL fishers their livelihood-Highlights TNA’s failure to take it up with India”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    Once again, the only person who can do something has spoken. It is pity Sarth Fonseka became selfish… He can still join hands with Gota and make a strong team.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “They engage in bottom trawling in our waters causing immense damage. They purposely destroy fishing nets and equipment belonging to Sri Lankan fishermen. There appears to be a systematic attempt to cause damage to fishing gear belonging to our people. Our fishermen aren’t in a position to compete with large Tamil Nadu fishing fleet. India needs to take tangible action to address our concerns.”

    A WEAK defence secretary to COMPLAIN about it and do NOTHING.

    Anyway NEVER think Jaffna Tamils will EVER vote for the govt. because of these statements or even ACTION. They will ALWAYS vote for TNA/UNP and now ACTC racists.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    Jeyalalitha VERSES GR battle is won by Jeyalalith (truth to be told) so far.

    We have to find ways to beat this dirt. That witch has Clinton’s backing.

  4. thirdeye Says:

    [“They are working overtime to show us in bad light.]

    what are we doing to show our innocence. are those government representative doing the job effectively to show the real picture to the world ?

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Some points to note :

    * Jaffna fishermen are learning which country/area they are living in i.e. NOT Tamil Nadu, India.

    * The other point showing up is that TN fishermen do not know their seas & the sea creatures. They only know how to do fishing and make money.

    * Fishing in Sri Lanka water by TN fishermen – how many of these fishermen ended up permanently on Lanka shores during ltte rule especially ? Question to ask ; what is the religion of these fishermen from TN ? Looks to us that not only illegal fishing but also illegal migration is involved here.

    This is a Defence problem as well as a fisheries problem. We ought to take it up at UN level and expose the whole fiasco to the entire world.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    There may be other smuggling rackets, other than human smuggling, carried on by TN fishermen – probably fairly lucrative business. The presence of the SL Navy may be the deterrent to these activities. TN fishermen want to get rid of the SL Navy in the North for these reasons. Forget it – not a happening thing !

  7. Vijendra Says:

    TNA is a political group elected by the Tamils living in the north. They are paid by the SL tax payer. Ever since their election into power, they have been conniving with India to undermine the peace efforts of the SL government, with no consequences. So they keep doing it.

    When it comes to the fishing issue, they consider it is the SL government that is responsible to solve the problem! Of course, it is obvious that this fishing issue is created by the LTTE supporting Tamilnadu politicians with the local LTTE supporting TNA and their henchmen, to destabilize and undermine the peace efforts of the SL government and to continue to keep the LTTE agenda alive.

    In my humble opinion, the SL government must take drastic legal steps to make it a terrorist act to connive with another foreign government or group to destabilize the country. With regard to SL politicians involved in such activities, they must be recognized as traitors, civic rights taken away and debarred from the parliament. Otherwise, as long as the TNA politicians continue their racially divisive political propaganda, separating the Tamils from the Sinhalese, they will get the support of the communal minded Tamils and the SL government will continue to spend its money and effort with no political returns.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Tamils will be Tamils!

    Do you think Tamils will EVER take medicine to heal the beggar’s wound?

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    Vijendra,

    Agree with you on the political aspects of the problem. That is, as you say : “In my humble opinion, the SL government must take drastic legal steps to make it a terrorist act to connive with another foreign government or group to destabilize the country. With regard to SL politicians involved in such activities, they must be recognized as traitors, civic rights taken away and debarred from the parliament. Otherwise, as long as the TNA politicians continue their racially divisive political propaganda, separating the Tamils from the Sinhalese, they will get the support of the communal minded Tamils and the SL government will continue to spend its money and effort with no political returns”.

  10. Raj Says:

    Lorenzo, you can’t be right all the time. a ‘weak GR’ , my foot I say! If you were a politician, wouldn’t last for very long even if elected, because your mentality is not right. Grow up.

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