Dire Straits – March 9,2017
Posted on March 10th, 2017

 Ira de Silva Canada

The Editor
The Hindu,
Delhi, India

 Dear Sir:

 Regarding the killing of a Tamil Nadu fisherman “somewhere between the Indian and Sri Lankan coast” on March 7,2017, it is correct that this is an unfortunate result of the long-standing dispute between Tamil Nadu fisherman and Sri Lankan fisherman. What you fail to indicate is, that it is due to the daily incidents of Indian fisherman backed by Tamil Nadu politicians, poaching in Sri Lankan waters, which they believe they can do with impunity, because the Government of Tamil Nadu refuses to recognize international boundaries and encourages the Indian fisherman to violate international law. The Central Government has done nothing to educate Tamil Nadu politicians on international law and continues to do nothing to prevent the Indians continuing to violate the law i.e., provides tacit backing for this illegal activity in it’s policy of being the “bully” of the region.

 For “forward movement”, what is needed is that India prevent the Indian fisherman from using bottom trawlers both in Indian and  in Sri Lankan waters. The Indians have depleted fish stocks and ruined  Indian waters by bottom trawling. The Indian fisherman believe that they have the “right to steal” from Sri Lanka which is supported directly by the politicians in Tamil Nadu with indirect support from the Central Government.  As stated by Subraminium Swamy on March 8,2017, the fisherman issue is being made out by some extremist elements in Tamil Nadu for “blowing up the issue out of proportion as they want to separate Tamil Nadu from India which has been a long dream and which dream is never going to come true”. Once again Sri Lanka is being robbed and plundered because of Tamil Nadu and Indian  politics.  He also states that India should compensate Sri Lanka for it’s losses. However his “solution” that for the time being Indian fisherman can do fishing in Sri Lanka till India re-populates it’s own area is outrageous. Given India’s duplicity, interference, support of Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka and it’s bullying attitude in the region, it would be the height of stupidity for Sri Lanka to trust India. The irony is that the Tamil Nadu politicians supported by the Central Government claim that they are helping the Sri Lankan Tamils. Is depriving the Sri Lankan fisherman of their livelihood an example of India’s concern for their well being? All Sri Lankans know that India is only concerned for India and do not care what happens to Sri Lankans even if they are Tamil. 

 The easiest way to “manage” the fishing dispute is for the Tamil Nadu Government and the Central Government to impound the bottom trawlers, increase patrols and arrest the Indian fisherman BEFORE they cross the international boundary. The same applies to Sri Lankan fisherman who go into Indian waters. The Indian attitude is manifested in the statement that the Indian fisherman are invoking “traditional rights” to justify their incursions. They completely disregard the fact that Sri Lanka is a separate country and that Indians do not have any “traditional rights” in Sri Lankan waters. Throughout history, whatever India has taken from Sri Lanka is by aggression, invasion and subterfuge.  Also, to ask for a  three year phase out period clearly indicates that the Indian intention is to deplete all fish stock in Sri Lankan waters in the Palk Bay. What will the Indian fisherman and India claim at that point? The probable answer is  all of Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.  If Sri Lanka refuses will India again threaten to invade?

 Yours truly,

 I. de Silva


9 Responses to “Dire Straits – March 9,2017”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    We thank Ira for this article.


    Tamil Nadu fishermen do bottom trawling for Conch shells which are prized in Tamil Nadu. This has ruined the regeneration of the fish supply in the Tamil Nadu sea areas. The encroachment into Lanka sea waters is mainly due to the depleted fishing in the TN sea areas.
    When the TN politics are added to this, there is double trouble.

    The answer to the problem will lie in regenerating the fish supply in the TN sea waters by whatever methods their experts choose. The safety of fish eggs laid in those parts of seas and food supplies for the fish found in those areas are the key issues. Fish multiply rapidly when the conditions are right. It goes without saying Fishermen will have stop fishing in those areas for some time.
    Also, they can start on inland fisheries, as done in many countries in the world.

    Lanka fishermen ought never to encroach into TN sea waters. Someone suggested floating colored anchored buoys as indicators. I have no idea how well this may work. SL Navy could attempt some exeperiments on this ?

    If there is a political will to halt the problem, then the problem will be solved. It will take right action from both sides of the Palk Sts to end the problem, more so from Tamil Nadu politicos.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Another relevant article on the same topic :


  3. Lorenzo Says:

    The best solution – SL should do bottom trawlering in these waters.

    Fish in these waters are a CURSE than any USE. ONLY SL Tamils and Endia’s Tamils catch them. Why should SL go to war over this USELESS RESOURCE? Bust it so that none of them will have it and there will be NO dispute between Endia and SL.

    It is not worth it.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Fisheries resources ought to be used by both sides of the Palk Sts divide.

    It is up to TN politicos & scientists to re-build their side of the seas. Meantime, the livelihoods of fishermen from both sides ought to be seen to – alternative methods, safe fishing, alternate areas to fish, deep sea fisheries etc.

    The fish will stay in the safer areas of the sea with more food supplies. Fish do not know boundaries set by man. Is TN up to the challenge ?

    A win-win situation should be sought, with co-operation.
    Agree that silly wars over fish is not worth it and not a wise move !

  5. Lorenzo Says:


    You are living in a dreamworld. TN has made it CLEAR they are NOT going to play by those rules.

    SL should do bottom trawlering to get rid of the BONE OF CONTENTION. Otherwise this will lead to WAR and INVASION.

    It is the ONLY BORDER DISPUTE SL has. It’s NOT worth it.

    ONLY TAMILS benefit from this fish. Other people are NOT allowed to fish in these waters. IF the resource is busted, only Tamils suffer.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:


    I can never agree with your type of negative thinking which will not do any good for either party.

    Sri Lanka Tamils are Sri Lankans, are they not ?
    It is their Leaders who mislead them through the Separatist games.

    Think positive – a part of human happiness comes from supporting Life with wisdom.

  7. Lorenzo Says:


    I’m not negative, I’m PRACTICAL. I’m a Tamil and I KNOW what is going on in the north. You have NO clue.

    You only see the simple side of things ignoring DEEP ISSUES. This fishing dispute is NOT JUST fishing. It is also about WEAPONS TRANSFER, DRUG SALES, HUMAN TRAFFICKING, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, LTTE PROPAGANADA TRANSFER, etc.

    This is where SL Tamils INTERACT ILLEGALLY with TAMIL MADU Tamils.

    When it comes to BLAMING the SL NAVY, both Tamil Madu Tamils and SL Tamils join together!! SL NAVY has got sandwiched into a TAMIL-TAMIL dispute that can trigger disputes between Endia and SL. That is their plan. Of course you won’t see it.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:


    Ok, so you know the whole story about illegal drugs, human tranfficking etc.

    Tell the Armed Forces of Lanka and INDIA that Lankans know all this as common news. Write an article about what you know.
    Why aren’t there articles about it in Lanka news ?
    Why is media in Lanka avoiding the topics you mention ?

    All WE hear is Tamil Nadu politicos complaining about Tamil Nadu fishermen being harrassed (one even killed !) by the SL Navy !!

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    I have always siad that :

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