Hakim seeks impartial inquiry into Muslim fisherman's death
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 31 December 2002, 18:46 GMT]
The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Minister Mr.Rauff Hakim Tuesday requested the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and the officials of the Sri Lanka navy (SLN) to conduct an impartial inquiry into the Mutur incident where Muslim fisherman Yakub Javed died when a SLN craft rammed a plastic fishing boat Tuesday early morning, sources said.
Minister Rauff Hakim rushed to Trincomalee Tuesday morning by a SLAF helicopter and then by a navy speedboat from Trincomalee Naval Headquarters to Mutur. Minister Mr. Hakim then met Muslim residents at Thakwa Nagar mosque and obtained the details of the incident.
The fishermen told the Minister that the ramming of the boat by the SLN was deliberate and was intended to inflict injury.
Muslim fishermen also complained to minister that they are subjected to harassment by the Sri Lanka Navy frequently when they go fishing in the sea close to Mutur jetty. SLN damages their fishing gears when they leave their boats in shore, they complained, and appealed to the Minister action should be taken to stop SLN harassment.
The minister returned to Trincomalee naval headquartres with a five-member delegation of the Mutur fishermen and arround 5 p.m. a top level conference was held at the Trincomalee naval headquarters which was attended by navy officials, the Government Agent, Trincomalee, Mr.N.H.K.Nelumdeniya, Additional Government Agent Mr.M.S.M.Niyas and two members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Trincomalee.
At the conference naval officials said that the fishing boat could have been damaged when it crashed against a rock in the sea. However the delegation of Mutur fishermen led Moulavi Kareem said a SLN craft rammed the fishing boat of the dead and the injured.
At this stage on Minister Hakim's request the SLN and the SLMM agreed to conduct an impartial inquiry into the incident, SLMC sources said.