Shun terrorism epithet says UNF minister

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 May 2002, 23:00 GMT]
"We must work hard to remove the word 'terrorism' from the dictionary. We should avoid using the word 'terrorism' in this atmosphere of peace", said Minister for Fisheries Mr. Mahinda Wijesekara, addressing fishermen in the Trincomalee Urban Council hall Friday. Minister Mahinda Wijesekara said he was able to visit Trincomalee without any security because of the cease-fire between the government and the Liberation Tigers.

A group of Trincomalee fishermen Friday evening requested Mr. Wijesekara that "the restriction imposed on fishing in Trincomalee bay should be lifted immediately so as to ensure them their livelihood."

Minister Mahinda Wijesekara (right) going through memorandums submitted by Trincomalee fishermen. (Photo:TamilNet )
The Sri Lanka navy still bans and restricts fishing in Trincomalee bay. The Minister said that he would discuss the matter with Sri Lanka Navy officials.

Mr.Mahinda Wijesekara arrived Trincomalee on a two-day official visit. He declared open a radio station in Trincomalee town enabling the fishermen to contact the shore when they face danger in mid sea while fishing.

Later the minister addressed representatives of the fishermen's associations in this eastern district at the Trincomalee Town Hall.

The fishermen handed over several petitions regarding their problems to the minister. The commanders of the three armed services in Trincomalee were also present at the meeting.

The fishing industry in the northeast was very badly affected due to the war since 1983. With the ceasefire agreement in force, fishing industry in the northeast is slowly getting back to normalcy, the Minister added.

Several representatives of fisheries organisations in Trinco brought to the notice of the Minister that those who have lost their fishing gear and their dwellings in the war have not been paid any compensation or relief.

Fishermen in Trincomalee are leading a miserable life due to restrictions on fishing in the district. Fishermen should be allowed freedom to fish without restrictions. The relatives of fishermen who died due to war and other natural calamities are not paid any compensation, the Trincomalee fishermen's groups told the Minister.

Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr. K. M. Thowfeek and Trincomalee Government Agent Mr. N. H. K. Nelumdeniya also spoke at the meeting.

Trincomalee fishermen attending a conference presided by the Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Wijesekara. (Photo:TamilNet)


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