NAGAPATTINAM: Seeking the retrieval of 76 boats impounded by Sri Lanka in the past one year, fishermen from six coastal districts staged a one-day hunger strike in Nagapattinam on Tuesday. Fishermen representatives also announced that they would picket the Karaikal port on January 29 and block road, rail, and maritime traffic.
Addressing a huge gathering in front of the Head Post Office, RMP Rajendira Nattar, fishermen representative from Keechankuppam said, “The promise of setting up an exclusive ministry for fishermen given by the BJP prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections has faded away.The BJP should make efforts to strengthen the troubled livelihood of fishermen here.”
Fishermen representatives from Karaikal, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, and Ramanathapuram districts lambasted the Central government for not lodging a strong protest with Sri Lanka over the arrests and skirmishes which leave Tamil fishermen injured.
Fishermen representatives, staging the hunger strike in front of Head Post Office (HPO), also sought the Indian and Tamil Nadu governments to resume the bilateral peace talks for evolving a plausible solution to the decades-long dispute and promote deep sea fishing.
“It has become an unfortunate routine that the detained fishermen are repatriated only ahead of major festivals. As all our investments are on the confiscated boats, the Sri Lankan government clandestinely demolishes our livelihood, and the Indian government remains a mute spectator to our miseries.” P Sesu Raja a representative said.
Nearly 1,500 fisherfolk took part in the hunger strike, following which a joint meeting was convened in the evening when it was decided unanimously to besiege the rail, road, and marine networks of Karaikal Marg port near Melavanjur on January 29 to protest.