RAMANATHAPURAM: Mobs of fishermen went on a rampage in and around Ramanathapuram following a Sri Lankan court awarding the death sentence to five fishermen. However, the wife of one of the fishermen is still hopeful that her husband Augustis -- the sole breadwinner of the family -- would return.
“I spoke to my husband last on Friday. He told me not to worry and that he would return soon. He said that the three Sri Lankan fisherman who were jailed along with them had told him that the five had not been part of the crime. But on Thursday, when we heard the news, our entire family is shattered, said Bagyaselvi, who has two children. She hoped that the State government would take steps to bring her husband and the four others back.
N J Bose, a fisherman leader said, “Already the fishermen have been facing threats and this judgment would only aggravate it further.” The Lankan navy’s case was that the Indian boat was seen breaking off from the flotilla of fishing vessels, heading towards the Delft Island, and making a rendezvous with a Sri Lankan boat en route. Naval cameras then captured something being transferred from the Indian boat to the Sri Lankan boat. On seeing this, a naval vessel rushed to the scene. When the two boats were searched, the Lankan vessel was found to have 995 gm of heroin.
However, Counsel for the Indian fishermen, Anil Silva told Express, “According to us, the navy’s case was very weak because their own GPS data contradicted their contention. However, Judge Surasena gave credence to the evidence given by the navy and awarded the death penalty,” Silva said.
The fishermen felt that the drug drama was enacted by the Lankan navy only to frame them. They alleged that foisting drug smuggling charges was a way of preventing Indian fishermen from entering Lankan waters to fish.