TN fisher gets 2-year jail for entering Lankan waters for the second time

While 12 fishermen aboard three boats were apprehended on October 14, 14 men on two fishing trawlers were arrested by the Lankan authorities on October 28.
Murugan a Rameswaram fisherman was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment for IMBL violation | Express
Murugan a Rameswaram fisherman was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment for IMBL violation | Express

RAMANATHAPURAM:  In a first, a fisherman from Rameswaram, who was among the 22 Indian fishers produced before a court in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, has been sentenced to two years of imprisonment. Nambu Murugan, who was arrested by the Lankan navy for violating the IMBL for the second time in October, has been lodged in the prison in Jaffna.

While 12 fishermen aboard three boats were apprehended on October 14, 14 men on two fishing trawlers were arrested by the Lankan authorities on October 28. After several weeks in custody, all 26 fishermen were produced before a Sri Lankan court on November 8. Four from Mandapam were released, while their boat was impounded, with the custody of the remaining 22 fishermen extended till November 15.  

On Wednesday, the 22 fishermen were produced before the court in Jaffna. While 21 fishermen were released, the hearing pertaining to the four impounded boats was adjourned to February 2024. Murugan, of Rameswaram, was the only fisherman to be put behind bars since he was caught for the second time for violating the IMBL.

When contacted, Prabhavathy, deputy director of the fisheries department stated this is the first time in recent years that a fisherman from Rameswaram has been awarded imprisonment for IMBL violation. Sources said Murugan had been arrested by the Lankan navy back in 2022 March, and was later released with a warning. He was, however, one of those to be arrested on October 28. Since this was the second time that Murugan got arrested for IMBL violation, the court awarded him 24 months of imprisonment.

Speaking to TNIE, Sagayam, a fishermen’s leader from Rameswaram, condemned the Centre for failing to prevent such issues between the countries. The fisher community has demanded that the union government take steps to create a safe space for the fishermen of both countries.

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