Colombo rushes ahead with moves to release trawlers confiscated from Indian poachers

[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 July 2017, 13:45 GMT]
The SL Attorney General's Department has instructed Ooraaththu'rai (Kayts) Magistrate's Court to release 42 Indian trawlers that are in the custody of the SL occupying Navy at Kaangkeasanthu'rai naval base. The trawlers were confiscated from the Indian poachers. The move comes after the SL Government passed a bill to ban bottom trawling. However, Indian trawlers continue to engage in bottom trawling, Eezham Tamil fishermen in Jaffna complain. The fishermen societies in Jaffna want to see an effective end to the Indian poaching before releasing their vessels. But, Colombo regime, as usual, is preoccupied with its relationship with New Delhi than protecting the interests of the Tamil fishermen in the North, they said. BJP rulers in New Delhi are also engaged in legitimising the genocide culture of the unitary ‘Sri Lanka’, the fishermen societies further blamed citing the recent trends.

While a group of local fishermen believe that the latest bill was a move in the right direction to protect them from Indian poachers and stop the trawlers from crossing into their territorial waters, others say there are already widespread negligence by the SL Navy as Indian fishermen continue to enter the territorial waters off Jaffna disregarding the ban. Even though bills are being introduced, enforcement is doubtful says the societies.

Meanwhile, newly appointed SL Army commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake has gone on record undermining the interests of the Tamil fishermen in the North by stating that the fishermen in North do not involve in fishing activities as before. He was also questioning why the local fishermen were worrying about the Indian fishermen.

The attitude of the occupying SL military is totally against the Eezham Tamil fishermen in North, the fishermen societies said.

The SL military is mostly interested in bringing Sinhala fishermen from South into the territorial waters of Eezham Tamils, they said.

The SL military commander was also saying that the Northern fishermen do fishing for their local consumption only and that they do not even cater Southern needs. The fishermen societies have refuted the claim of SL military commander. The Southern vendors were buying more than 60% of their catches in huge cooler trucks on a daily basis, the fisheries societies in Jaffna said.

The SL Government had already agreed on the release of 42 trawlers as a good-will move during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Tamilisai Soundararajan on her recent visit to the island was also seeking to get the trawlers released.

Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist and member of the right-wing RSS, was visiting the island on the occasion of International Vesak Day.

Following Modi's visit legitimising the genocide culture of Theravada Buddhism, the monks in the island have openly opposed any power sharing arrangement with Tamils in the new SL Constitution.

The SL regime collaborating with the monks have also stepped up construction of Buddha statues in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils through Sinhala militarisation, Tamil activists in Jaffna said.

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