PUDUKKOTTAI: Five days after the death of Rajkiran (28) from Kottaipattinam in the district, fishermen along with officials and the Indian Coast Guard on Saturday received his body from the Sri Lankan authorities. Hundreds gathered at the harbour to receive the body when it arrived after 1 pm. The other two fishermen, Suganthan and Xavier, who travelled in the same boat as Rajkiran, are still in detention under the Sri Lankan government.
Early morning on Monday last, Rajkiran, along with Suganthan and Xavier, had set out for fishing with 120 other boats on mechanised trawler ‘Suresh’. According to fishermen who travelled with them, they were chased by a Sri Lankan vessel which was on the rounds sometime after 4 pm. While the other boats fled seeing the Lankan vessel, Rajkiran’s boat couldn’t, they added.
Prabhakaran, a fisherman who travelled in a boat next to Rajkiran’s, said that the Lankan vessel hit ‘Suresh’ and captured it. He claims that the Lankan authorities killed Rajkiran. According to a Sri Lankan statement, Rajkiran drowned, and his body was found on Wednesday.
Amid protests demanding justice for Rajkiran, and the return of the two other fishermen, the former’s body was to be brought back on Friday.
However, it was only on Saturday morning that a boat with nine fishermen and two fisheries officials could receive Rajkiran’s body at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), along with the Indian Coast Guard. The body was buried the same day.
Rajkiran’s wife Brinda was inconsolable. They got married only 40 days ago. The 21-year-old, a lab technician, has been promised a government job.
On Saturday, Law Minister S Regupathy paid his last respects to Rajkiran and handed over the solatium of Rs 10 lakh announced by Chief Minister MK Stalin to the fisherman’s family. Collector Kavitha Ramu also paid her respects to the deceased fisherman.
Meanwhile, official sources said Suganthan and Xavier would be detained till November 1. A decision on when they would be sent back will be taken on November 1. Legal proceedings are underway at Kayts Magistrate Court, according to the Lankan Navy.
Following this, fishermen in Kottaipattinam have decided to call off their protests, for now. “We expected that all three would come back together. However, we were at least able to perform the last rites for Rajkiran. We have decided to call off the protests for now, as per the assurances of the authorities,” said Muruges, a fisher leader in Kottaipattinam.
Navy nabs SL fishers for crossing IMBL
Nagapattinam: The Indian Navy apprehended two Sri Lankan fishermen for crossing the maritime border and venturing into Indian waters near Kodiyakarai on Friday. The Navy reportedly found the two at 16 nautical miles southeast of Kodiyakarai around 5.30 pm. The Navy impounded their boat, took them on board patrol vessel ‘INS Bangaram’ and brought them to the Naval Detachment in Nagapattinam. The Coastal Security Group (CSG) identified the two persons as K Nimalathas (24) and D Kajeepan (23) of Valvettithurai in Jaffna district of Sri Lanka. Fisheries department said the Lankans were fishing using gill nets in Indian waters. CSG took them to Vedaranyam Marine Police Station, where they were booked under the Maritime Zones of India Act, 1981. CSG then took the two to Chennai, where they would be produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
Law minister hands over solatium of Rs 10 lakh to family members; 21-year-old widow promised government job