SLN punishes Mannar fishermen again

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 14 March 2001, 17:19 GMT]
Five fishermen from the Mannar town’s coastal suburb of Panangkatti Kottil who were severely beaten up by the Sri Lanka Navy sailors were remanded until 27 March by Mannar district judge M.H.M Ajmeer Wednesday. The fishermen were produced before the judge by the Counter Subversive Unit (CSU) of the Police this evening. The Navy had assaulted and arrested them in the sea off Mannar town early morning Tuesday, seizing the three boats in which they had set out; accusing them of possessing more fuel than what is permitted under the unwritten restrictions of the Vanni embargo. The five men were bruised all over, with broken skin, swellings and contusions.

The Police however said that the Navy searches all boats that set out from Panangkatti Kottil at a coastal checkpoint by the Portuguese built fort in Mannar town for extra fuel and other goods banned under the Vanni embargo.

The fishermen, Ponnuthurai Santhirakumar, James Devadaas, Thomas Eugene Bird, Anthony Francis, and Vamathevan Vasantharuban had set out in three boats from Panangkatti Kottil around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning. The Navy had stopped them in the sea off Pallimunai, another coastal suburb on the western outskirts of the Mannar town and had assaulted them with the large strips of the thick beading used for protecting the bow in sea going boats.

The Navy handed over the five fishermen, their boats and their fishing and diving gear to the CSU Tuesday evening.

 

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