New Delhi attempts to dictate terms on resolving fishing dispute: Fishermen Societies in North

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 28 December 2016, 22:44 GMT]
A meeting, scheduled to take place between the officials of SL Fisheries Ministry and the Indian counterpart in Colombo on 02 January, has been called off and the New Delhi Establishment has invited Colombo’s officials to attend a meeting in New Delhi, according to the leaders of Federation of Fisheries Societies in Mannaar and the Federation of Fisheries Societies in Jaffna. At a press conference held in Jaffna on Wednesday, Noor Alam Mohammed, the chairman of Fisheries Societies in Mannaar, said the elected Northern Provincial Council and the representatives of fishermen in North are being sidelined in the process between Colombo and New Delhi. In the meantime, Mr Subramaniam, the chairman of Federation of Fisheries Societies in Jaffna blamed the SL military for scheming permanent military occupation of Kachchatheevu islet.

In a meeting held on 02 November 2016, the fishermen representatives from North were told to cooperate with the controversial suggestion from New Delhi of allowing Indian fishermen entry to the seas off Northern province for three consecutive years. The fishing society members were also asked to sign on a document, which they had declined.

Tamil-speaking fishermen in the Northern province have been expressing their sharp opposition against the destructive methods of bottom-trawling and large-scale intrusion by Indian fishermen in the seas off Northern province.

As a measure of controlling intrusion, the trawlers being seized from Indian fishermen should not be handed back, but fishermen, who are mostly daily wage workers, should be released, was the position of Eezham Tamil fishermen.

When the representatives of fishermen societies in North took part in the meeting in New Delhi and explained their problems, both the ministries of Colombo and New Delhi agreed to initiate steps to scrap the destructive bottom-trawling.

But, now it seems like they are going to backtrack from the promises, the representatives of fishermen said at the press conference held in Jaffna on Wednesday.

Apart from NPC's Fisheries Minister B. Deniswaran, no one else in the NPC are prepared to engage in resolving the problem caused by intruding Indian fishing trawlers, they further said urging a proactive role from the NPC despite the body being sidelined by Colombo and New Delhi in resolving the fishing dispute of fishermen in the Northern province.

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