Photographs showing detained Indian fishermen being chained and handcuffed in Sri Lanka, which surfaced here on Sunday, have caused outrage among fishing community leaders and human rights activists.
As many as 32 fishermen belonging to Karaikal in Puducherry were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy in October for allegedly entering into the Island Nation’s territorial waters.
Photographs taken on November 29 show Sri Lankan authorities producing detained fishermen in the Trincomalee Court after fastening their hands with long chains. In another photograph fishermen are shown handcuffed. “This is an insult not just for the fishing community but for India. It is a challenge to India by the Sri Lankan Government,” said N J Bose, general secretary, Tamil Nadu Coastal Mechanised Boats Fishermen Association.
In contrast, activists said, in India detained Sri Lankan fishermen were treated with respect and their remand too was extended through videoconferencing.
“This is an inhuman act as it deprives them dignity. They have been treated like animals. This is a violation of International Humanitarian Law,” said advocate V Suresh, secretary of Peoples Union for Civil Liberties.
Stating that the Union Nations Human Rights Council must take note of this, Suresh urged the Indian External Affairs Minister to proactively intervene in this issue and ask the Sri Lankan authorities to end the cruel and degrading treatment meted out to Indian fishermen.
Well known human rights campaigner A Marx condemned the chaining of the fishermen. “The Indian Government must also condemn this inhuman action and take steps to get them released,” he added. People’s Watch executive director Henri Tiphagne too said such action went against the international covenants.