NAGAPATTINAM: Days after a fisherman sustained injuries from a patrol vessel’s “warning shots”, a three-member team from the Indian Navy visited Nagapattinam on Thursday and held investigations in connection with the incident. They also met and held inquiries with nine other fishermen who were on the boat with the 35-year-old who took the bullets at Nagapattinam general hospital where they continue to be treated for injuries sustained during an alleged assault that followed the firing.
In the wee hours of October 21, personnel on a naval patrol vessel fired “warning shots” at a boat near Palk Strait. K Veeravel, of Vanagiri in Mayiladuthurai district, who was among the 10 fishermen in the boat, sustained injuries in the incident. The Navy then airlifted Veeravel to Ramanathapuram, from where he was later shifted to Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai. He continues to be hospitalised. The Marine Police in Vedaranyam have registered a case against unnamed naval personnel.
Commodore Vishal Gupta, the flag officer of INS Adyar, led the team in investigations on Thursday.
The fishing vessel owned by M Selvam, of Karaikal, on which the 10 fishermen put out to sea, was brought to Nagapattinam port near the Naval Detachment Office for inspection. The naval team climbed onboard, studied the holes from bullet firing, and collected evidence.
Officials from the fisheries department and the port office, and various law enforcement agencies like the Coastal Security Group (CSG), the law and order police, the intelligence bureau, and the ‘Q’ branch were present.
It is learnt that the fishing vessel bore at least 47 bullet holes. “The bullets are 7.62 mm in calibre. They were supposedly fired from an automated weapon in the naval vessel. Although there were several rounds fired at the boat, there is a chance some of the bullets caused multiple holes in the vessel,” said a CSG official.
The naval team later visited the nine fishermen at Nagapattinam general hospital. Of the 10 people who were in the boat that came under naval firing, six are from Mayiladuthurai district, three are from Karaikal, and one is from Nagapattinam district. The naval officials held individual inquiries with the fishermen. The team also learnt about the fishermen’s health from the doctors.
Nagapattinam Government Medical College Hospital Dean Dr V Visvanathan said, “The fishermen have suffered internal injuries. We have provided them with appropriate treatment.”