Indian Coast Guard trespassed into waters off Jaffna, 18 fishers detained since 03 October

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 October 2019, 20:17 GMT]
Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu, where Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to host an informal summit, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has stepped up patrol activities in the Palk Straits and the Bay of Bengal. On 03 October, the ICG has trespassed into the waters off Jaffna peninsula and detained eighteen poor Eezham Tamil fishers, who were engaged in crab fishing off Ezhuvai-theevu island in an offshore vessel with 18 feet fishing bay. The families are yet to hear from the detained fishermen who are believed to be in the custody of Tamil Nadu Police in Puzhal prison, Annalingam Annarasa, the deputy chairman of Jaffna Islets Fisheries Federation said on Tuesday. Ezhuvai-theevu is the island that is seen first when coming from the Indian coast to Kayts Harbour.

Twelve of the eighteen fishers are from Ezhuvai-theevu while the remaining six are uprooted fishers from Mayiddi who live in Point Pedro.

The Indian Consular General in Jaffna has not responded to their requests of facilitating telephone contact with the detained fishers with their families that are concerned about their safety, Mr Annalingam said.

Among those detained were three brothers belonging to a single-family.

“We are not operating boats capable of trespassing into the Indian border. Our boats are only capable of carrying 100 kilograms of catch. Why did the ICG do this,” he asked.

Furthermore, there was no information conveyed to the families of their detention. However, SL Fisheries Department officials have passed a message to the fishers federation on Monday that the fishermen were being detained and that their case would be taken for investigation at the courts on 18 October in Tamil Nadu.

The fishers federation was urging the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to intervene and release the 18 fishermen with the boat and equipment without delay.

The families are in a panic as they have not heard from their family members. The children have not gone to schools, and they are languishing without their breadwinners, Annalingam told media in Jaffna.


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