RAMANATHAPURAM: Fear has gripped fishermen of Ramanathapuram after they faced brutal attacks at the hands of the Sri Lankan Navy personnel.
Nowadays, fishermen cannot fish close to the IMBL as Sri Lankan navy boats anchor along the border line and chase Indian boats the moment they spot them.
Of the over 900 boats registered in Rameswaram, 304 tokens were issued on Saturday and only 100 boats set out to sea for fishing in the morning. Of them, 75 per cent returned in the evening as they were not allowed to enter deep waters. The remaining returned in the wee hours on Sunday with poor catch. Each boat owner faced an average lose of `20,000, a source said.
Jesuraja of Thankatchimadam, a fishermen association leader, said the Lankan navy treats Indian fishermen like their arch enemies and attack them without mercy.
Fishermen, who took to the sea after a 45-day lull, have faced huge losses since the ban period ended. After several mid-sea attacks, some boats were damaged and sank in the ocean. In other cases fishermen were arrested and boats seized.
Although the fishermen were released their boats remained in the custody of Lankan authorities and left to rust in Lankan waters.
Around 46 fishermen have been incarcerated in Lankan prisons and 34 boats were left to rust in Lankan waters. Devadas of Rameswaram, a fishermen association leader said the Lankan navy had intensified its mid-sea attacks on Indian fishermen after the BJP government took over at the Centre.
He said, although the Lankan government released fishermen due to pressure from the Delhi, they destroyed their livelihood by not releasing the boats.