‘Indian trawlers back in huge numbers’
Posted on February 9th, 2015

MEERA SRINIVASAN Courtesy The Hindu

Earli.er, Sri Lankan Navy acted promptly, but now they are reluctant to arrest the poaching Indian fishermen, Jaffna-based fisher leaders say

More Indian trawlers have been allegedly fishing near the northern coastline of Sri Lanka over the past two weeks, Jaffna-based fisher leaders say.

The fishermen from both sides got into a tussle at sea recently, after the nets of those from the northern region of the island nation were damaged. There was a major problem in Vadamarachchi a couple of days ago when our nets had been damaged by the Indian trawlers,” said Josephpillai Sinthathurai, a fisherman based in Madagal in northern Jaffna.

Earlier, the [Sri Lankan] Navy took action promptly, but now they seem reluctant to arrest Indian fishermen who are poaching,” he said. When contacted, Navy spokesperson Kosala Warnakulasooriya said: We received no such complaint from the fishermen.”

In the past few days, northern fishermen suffered damages ranging from Sri Lankan rupees 75,000 to 1 lakh, Mr. Sinthathurai said. Most of us have already borrowed heavily to make ends meet. With the unceasing problem of Indian trawlers poaching in our waters, our livelihoods have been badly hit,” he said.

The fisherfolk are helpless as the Navy is silent, says Nataraja Rathnaraja, a fisher cooperative leader in Mayilitythurai in the Jaffna peninsula.

Fishermen attributed the Navy’s inaction” to the high-level bilateral visits coming up in the two countries. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is scheduled to visit India from February 15 to 17, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to visit Sri Lanka in mid-March.

The Sri Lankan side is also working on releasing the 87 Indian trawlers in its custody. The trawlers are expected to be released in the coming week, ahead of the President’s visit.Officials in decision-making circles in Colombo told The Hindu, on condition of anonymity, that they would be lenient on Indian fishermen found poaching, considering the upcoming high-level visits aimed at improving relations between India and Sri Lanka.

No official complaint about Indian trawlers fishing in Sri Lankan waters has so far been made to the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

It is total destruction. The last few weeks have been a disaster for our fishermen,” said K. Rajachandran, secretary, Jaffna District Fisheries Federation. Unlike before, Indian trawlers now come and fish in our waters without any issue. Our fishermen are dejected,” he said.

While Indo-Lanka relations are rapidly improving with high level state visits, the Palk Bay fishing conflict is taking a nasty turn, according to Jaffna-based researcher Ahilan Kadirgamar. The optimism that came with the change of Government here and now better relations between the two countries can only be sustained among the fishing communities if talks towards a solution are announced soon,” he said.

The Palk Bay conflict has proved a major strain on Indo-Lanka relations over the last few years. Nearly 700 Indian fishermen were arrested in 2014 on charges of poaching.

4 Responses to “‘Indian trawlers back in huge numbers’”

  1. Wickrama Says:

    Bloody good ! You Tamil idiots voted against the President who saved you all from your own Tyrant Terrorist Prabhakara. Now suffer !!

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    FULLY AGREE with GR. Hopefully the new govt. will continue with his good work.

    “Getting voted into office or voted out of office is a different matter. Churchill too was voted out of office soon after he won World War II, but that did not mean that the British public did not appreciate the leadership he had provided during the war.”

    Golden words. This is what some FOOLS fail to understand.

  3. NAK Says:

    This is small change compared to the big favour by modi during the last election.The real payments still ahead and we’ll know when the boss is here.

  4. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    THIS MUST BECOME AN IMMEDIATE ISSUE THAT HAS TO BE TAKEN TO THE STREETS OF SRI LANKA

    if the NEW government WILL NOT protect Sri Lanka’s soveriegnity then the NEW government has already compromised the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT SRI LANKA FOUGHT FOP 30 YEARS TO PRESERVE.

    To make my point, if Sri Lankan trawlers or fishing boats did this just along Tamil Nadu’s coast EVERY CITY IN TAMIL NADU WOULD WITNESS STREET PROTESTS!!!

    When 2 Italian naval officers shot at a speeding boat heading towards their Naval ship and after warning them to stop THEY WERE ARRESTED AND HELD IN INDIA’S JAIL FOR MORE THAN A YEAR.

    THIS BECAME ONE OF THE MOST CONTENTIOUS ISSUES BETWEEN INDIA AND ITALY.

    IF THIS GOVERNMENT WILL NOT PROTECT SRI LANKA’S MARITIME TERRITORY SHE HAS FAILED THE PROVERBIAL “LITMUS TEST” AND WILL COMPROMISE SRI LANKA TO THE TAMIL TIGERS AND THE MOVEMENT FOR ELAM.

    THIS ALONE SHOULD BE GROUNDS FOR IMPEACHMENT FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT HAS ALREADY BETRAYED THE MILITARY (FOR THEIR FAITHFUL SERVICE TO PROTECT SRI LANKA’S SOVEREIGNITY FOR 30 PLUS YEARS IN A BRUTAL WAR)
    BETRAYED THE PEOPLE WHO SUFFERED SO LONG TO KEEP THE INTEGRITY OF SRI LANKA AND BY THAT FORFEITED THEIR RIGHT TO GOVERN.

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