SL Navy ‘revenge’ against Tamil fishermen continues in Mannaar

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 November 2016, 21:20 GMT]
The occupying navy of genocidal Sri Lanka has been harassing the fishermen from Mannaar island in the early hours of Friday. The latest Sinhala navy aggression was an act of ‘revenge’ against Tamil fishermen in Mannaar as the SL Navy commander of Chilaavaththu’rai proclaimed it on 18 October, when the fishermen Arippu village situated far away in the mainland in Musali division, confronted two criminal Navy personnel, who had been committing a series of violent thefts in the village. On Friday, SL Navy at Periya-kadai jetty near the main bridge in Mannaar city, was harassing more than 1,000 Tamil fishermen, embarking on fishing from the jetty from three GS divisions of Mannaar island. The fishermen were asked to show ‘pass documents’ documenting every item they were having on board in their fishing vessel.



Mannaar jetty
Fishermen representatives intervened to calm down the situation at Periya-kadai jetty


Mannaar jetty
Mannaar jetty
Periya-kadai Jetty, situated at the entrance to Mannaar city
Mannaar jetty
The operation license issued by the SL Ministry does not specify the kind of nets and tools allowed on board the fishing vessels. SL Navy is harassing with different motives, the fishermen say
The control was being carried out on specific instructions from the Fisheries Ministry in Colombo the Sinhala navy personnel told the fishermen.

Only three fishermen could be on board a fishing vessel, according to SL Navy officers who were almost interrogating the fishermen.

The fishermen were also told that they could not be in possession of any net or tool that has not been mentioned in the ‘document’ which, according to the SL Navy, should have been issued by the SL Fisheries Ministry. The fishermen have never heard such mentioning of particular tools and nets, which they had to document, even during the times of war.

30-year-old Edin Baro from Panangkaddik-koddu was one of the fishermen to be blocked by the SL Navy. “We were told that there cannot be more than 3 persons in each boat and that there should be no shoe, coir, fishing tackle or glass,” he said.

When the representatives of the fishermen contacted the officials at the Fisheries Ministry in Colombo over the phone to ask about the instructions, the response from the fisheries officials was that there was no such specific instruction issued to the SL Navy in Mannaar.

Tension prevailed as the fishermen, deprived from fishing, started to agitate against the SL Navy harassment at the jetty.

The SL Navy was telling the fishermen that it was acting on the instructions from SL Fisheries Ministry and the officers of the SL Navy began to insist upon that the fishermen should at least submit a ‘common letter’ issued by the SL Ministry.

50-year-old George Praba, a fisherman from Panangkaddik-koddu was also blaming the SL Fisheries Ministry for not utilising the fishermen with proper documents for stake net fishing (kaddu-valai) despite a High Court ruling to do so.

The SL Navy has made it a practice to use that as a reason to harass the fishermen engaging in kaddu-valai fishing in the seas south of Mannaar.

Mannaar jetty
Nets and tools used in fishing. The fishermen were harassed by SL Navy asking documented permit from SL Ministry mentioning every tool in the operation license issued to the fishermen


The latest harassment comes 7 days after the SL Navy received a strong message from Justice Alex Raja at Mannaar Courts that they should cease their acts of revenge and harassments against the fishermen of Arippu.

Nine Tamil fishermen from Arippu were arrested by the Sinhala police, which was collaborating with the SL Navy.

The SL police initially promised to investigate the SL Navy thieves in front of the public, priests and Tamil politicians when the SL Navy culprit was in the custody of the villagers on 18 October. But, after the civilians handed over the culprit to the SL Police, there was no talk of legal action against the alleged SL Navy squad involved in criminal activity.

Six Tamil fishermen were arrested on 21 October, brought to Mannaar court and remanded at Vavuniyaa prison. On 27 October, three more civilians were arrested and a case against the nine was taken up with an identification parade. One of the criminal SL Navy person was present along with three other SL Navy sailors to identify the villagers who chased and captured the Sinhala navy criminal, who identified himself as ‘Manchula’. The navy man was in possession of two knives and was severely beaten up by the villagers.

While the case against 9 civilians is being taken up for investigations and hearing, there are no signs of any case being filed against the criminal navy men, who were the real culprits.

The nine Tamil villagers were released on surety bail on 27 October. The case against them will continue on 08 December, legal sources in Mannaar said.


Chronology:

 

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