PUDUCHERRY: National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) has requested Prime Minster Narendra Modi to use diplomatic channels to hold dialogue with neighbouring countries, who arrest, attack and incarcerate Indian fishermen.
NFF chairperson, M Ilango and general secretary, Narendra R Patil, in a letter, have urged the PM to pay attention to the issue that affects the livelihood of fisher communities and bring a permanent solution with a human touch.
They also wanted the PM to hold consultation with leaders of the fisher communities at the national level.
Ilango said fishermen of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Diu, Daman and West Bengal are continuously affected by the navies of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Giving statistics, he said since the beginning of 2015, innumerable number of fishermen of Gujarat have been arrested by Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA). The 11 boats that went out for fishing from Porbandhar and one boat from Okha were confiscated by PMSA and the 100 fishermen of those vessels were arrested last week.
In January, 38 fishermen were arrested and their 7 boats were confiscated by Pakistan authorities. In March, 48 fishermen were arrested and their 8 boats were impounded. In April, another 47 in 8 boats were arrested.
This September, a fisherman named Iqbal Bhatti from Okha was shot dead in the international border near Indian seas. The fishermen who go out fishing from Gujarat, Diu and Daman are continuously suffering a state of uncertainty over safety of their lives, he added.
On October 1, 61 fishermen of West Bengal were arrested by Bangladesh and their 5 boats confiscated.
In the South, 40 fishing boats of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are confiscated and let to lie unmaintained for months by Sri Lanka and 35 fishermen are imprisoned.
Ilango said all the countries concerned, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are members of the UN and they have ratified the International Law of the Seas. But no effort has been taken by these countries to implement the International law and instead they continue to arrest or shoot innocent fishermen and confiscate their boats, Ilango added.