A total of 19 fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy when they were fishing about 18 nautical miles east of Jagathapattinam coast on Wednesday night.
According to coastal security group, about 1,500 fishermen of Pudukkottai district went for fishing in 200 mechanised boats from Kottaipattinam and in 150 boats from Jegathapattinam fishing port. Of them, some of the fishermen were anchored 18 nautical miles east off Jegathapattinam which falls within Indian waters.
At around 11 pm, the fishermen were rounded up by Sri Lankan navy boats and were assaulted, the eye witnesses said. Later, they were arrested and forcibly taken to Jaffna in Sri Lanka.
As the news spread among other fishermen who were fishing at various locations, they immediately returned to the shore fearing similar attacks by the island navy.
The arrested fishermen were identified as Parthipan (22), Arulraj (22), Silambarasan (23) and Vinoth (24) of Kottaipattinam and Kulanthaivel (32), Manivel( 29) Kandasamy (55) and Arumugam of Jegathapatinam.
Similarly, Nilavan (32), the owner of a boat, and his co-fishermen Pitchai Pandiyan (40) and Veera (25), besides S Gajendran (32), K Annadurai, Prabakaran, Yojo, K Subasah, N Dinesh, C Anand and M Sudheer were among the arrested. The island navy personnel secured all the five mechanised boats and took it to Jaffna, sources said.
According to fishermen’s association here, they were being enquired at Karai Nagar fishing port in Jaffna.
The Mechanised Boat Owners Association and Fishermen Association of Kottaipattinam and Jegathapattinam condemned the incident and appealed to district administration and state government to intervene immediately and take steps for the release of fishermen.