NAGAPATTINAM/KARAIKAL/ COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan navy late on Thursday detained as many as 86 fishermen hailing from the coastal hamlets of Nagapattinam and Karaikal. A total of 10 fishing trawlers were also secured by the Lankan navy. The fishermen were charged with poaching in Lankan waters. Fisheries department sources in Nagapattinam said the 86 fishermen were taken to Trincomalee for initiating legal action.
Earlier, for the first time in the history of the long-simmering conflict over fishing rights, the fishermen of the two countries clashed in mid-sea with deadly weapons, according to media reports in Jaffna. The clash occurred off Kattaikadu on the Vadmarachchi East coastline in Lanka. Fishermen from Nagapattinam and Karaikal were fishing in the area in 20 trawlers when Jaffna fishermen confronted them and asked them to leave. When the Indians refused, the locals stoned them. The lndians then allegedly attacked them with firearms, sharp instruments and petrol bombs, following which the Lanka fishermen appealed to their Navy.
Meanwhile, fishermen representatives in Nagapattinam urged both the Indian and Lankan governments to expedite talks for a permanent solution to the issue, following the first-ever fishermen detention by Lanka this year.