RAMANATHAPURAM: The Sri Lankan Navy arrested 15 fishermen, hailing from Rameswaram, on Saturday evening for allegedly violating the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). The fishers, along with two boats, were taken to Talaimannar for an inquiry. Local sources said two minor boys, who accompanied their father, have also been arrested. Condemning the arrests, the Rameswaram fishermen association has announced an indefinite strike.
Sources said 2,500 fishermen on nearly 534 boats went into the sea from Rameswaram on Saturday. The Lankan navy said they were carrying out a special operation to chase away Indian trawlers from Lankan waters.
“The north central naval command mounted a special operation after spotting a cluster of Indian trawlers. Two Fast Attack Craft of the 4th Fast Attack Flotilla (4 FAF) were deployed. The seized boats and arrested fishermen will be handed over to Mannar fisheries officials for legal action,” said a statement. An official from the fisheries department said, “All arrested fishermen were from Ramanathapuram and Thangachimadam. Two boys aged 13 and 17 were also arrested. As per procedure, relatives of the arrested fishermen sent two letters to the fisheries commissioner officer.”
Demanding the intervention of the State and Union governments, P Jesuraj, president, All Mechanised Fishing Boats Association, said an indefinite strike will begin on November 8. “It has become unsafe for us. We urge the district administration and departments concerned to get us a meeting wiht the CM and External Affairs Minister,” he said, adding that the-13 year-old boy should be immediately released on medical grounds.