ONGOLE: Tension prevailed at Vodarevu village in Vetapalem mandal on Friday when fishermen of a few coastal villages divided into two groups and attacked each other. Nineteen fishermen suffered grievous injuries in the attack. The injured were shifted to Chirala area hospital. Police personnel were deployed in all sensitive areas.
“Fishermen from Vodarevu and Kattavaripalem villages attacked each other. More than 15 people suffered serious injuries and we shifted them to the Chirala area hospital. Cases were registered against both the groups. Police pickets have been set up. At present, the situation is under control,” Chirala Deputy Superintendent of Police P Srikanth told TNIE.
Two weeks ago, Vodarevu fishermen objected to Kattavaripalem fishermen catching fish using small hole nets. But the Kattavaripalem fishermen claimed that the government has approved the use of small hole nets. Upon hearing this, Vodarevu and a few other fishermen captured the boats and nets of Kattavaripalem fishermen. The next day Kattavaripalem fishermen also captured the boats and fishing nets of the Vodarevu fishermen.
Later, both the groups complained to the Fisheries Joint Director Chandrasekhar Reddy, Assistant Director Srinivasa Rao and the police. The Fisheries Joint Director, Ongole RDO and Chirala DSP held a meeting with the village elders and the two warring groups on December 2 and tried to solve the issue. The Fisheries Joint Director promised to solve their problem within 10 days by taking the issue to the notice of the government. They advised both the groups not to indulge in violence.
Later, the Fisheries Joint Director and Assistant Director, Chirala DSP, Chirala Circle Inspector Rajamohan, Vetapalem Sub-Inspector and Marine Sub-Inspector K Srinivasa Rao went to Kattavaripalem on Friday to handover the boats and fishing nets to the owners that were forcibly taken by the rival group a few weeks earlier.
Meanwhile, when they came to know that some of the Vodarevu fishermen had reportedly gone fishing, the irate Kattavaripalem fishermen ventured into the sea and caught four Vodarevu fishermen along with their boat and brought them to their village. In retaliation, the Vodarevu fishermen chased the Kattavaripalem boats and captured 10 persons along with boats and took them to their village.
In the evening, a group of fishermen from Kattavaripalem and Ramapuram went to Vodarevu with sticks and knives and started attacking them indiscriminately and the resultant clash saw many fishermen injured. The Chirala DSP is closely monitoring the situation.