SLN encourages poaching by Indian fishermen - Adaikalanathan

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 March 2003, 16:50 GMT]
The Vanni district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan in a letter to the Prime Minister Saturday blamed the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) for causing rift between Sri Lankan Tamil and Indian fishermen. "I strongly condemn the SLN for purposely allowing Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters as a ploy to create ill feeling between fishermen of Mannar and India," said Mr.Adaikalanathan.

The text of the letter follows:

"I wish to bring to your kind notice the tense situation between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen in fishing in terroritorial waters of Sri Lanka.

Selvam Adaikalanathan
Selvam Adaikalanathan, MP
Before the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed Mannar fishermen were allowed to fish in daytime within two km from the shore. Indian fishermen used this opportunity to fish in the terroritorial waters of Sri Lanka with their trawlers. The Sri Lanka Navy who imposed severe restriction on the Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen did not take notice when Indian fishermen trespassed into the territorial water of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Navy did not think the seriousness of foreign fishing vessels entering our sea. Due to the callous attitude of the Sri Lankan Navy Sri Lankan Tamil fishermen had been deprived of their living.

I requested the then government to allow Mannar Tamil fishermen to fish in night time in order to stop Indian trawlers trespassing into the Sri Lankan territorial waters. But no action was taken.

Even after the MoU was signed in February last year Indian fishing trawlers are allowed to fish in the Sri Lankan territorial waters. Hence the recent clash between fishermen of Indian and Sri Lanka. The indifferent attitude of the SLN has forced the Mannar fishermen to take the law into their own hands to safeguard their fishing rights in Sri Lankan territorial waters.

Even after the recent clash, the SLN has not taken any concrete steps to stop Indian trawlers poaching in Sri Lankan waters. The Sri Lankan territorial waters should be brought under the monitoring of the Sri Lanka Ceasefire Monitoring Mission (SLMM) if the SLN fails to stop poaching by Indian fishermen.

The Prime Minister should take immediate steps to prevent escalation of clashes between fishermen of Sri Lanka and India in future" the letter concludes.

Copies of the letter have been sent to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Mannar Government Agent.

 

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