VVT fishermen complain of assault by SLN soldiers

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 July 2003, 17:03 GMT]
A group of Valvettithurai (VVT) fishermen Thursday complained to the VVT Fisheries Co-operative Society that they had been assaulted and intimidated while fishing in northern sea by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) soldiers who came in a Dvora gunboat on Wednesday evening around five, fisheries sources said.

According to the complaint, several VVT fishermen had gone fishing in VVT seas, about five nautical miles away from the shore Wednesday evening. Around five p.m. a SLN Dvora boat stopped one fishing boat, and wanted to search it. Fishermen in the boat then protested that they were allowed to sea after being checked by the SLN soldiers located at the shore and there was no need for a second search in the sea. Angered soldiers then started assaulting fishermen in the boat, victims said.

Ponniah Yogathas aged 36 and father of four who was seriously wounded in the assault was admitted to the VVT government district hospital, medical sources said.

On a complaint by the VVT Fisheries Co-operative Society Thursday morning to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Jaffna regarding the assault on its members by the SLN, SLMM monitors visited the injured Thursday around noon at the hospital and recordered his statement.

Later members of the SLMM held discussions with Sri Lanka Army officials located in the area, fisheries sources said.

Meanwhile fishermen of VVT Athikoviladi held a boycott protest Thursday by not going fishing till their security at sea is ensured, sources said.

SLMM monitors held discussion with the representatives of the VVT Fisheries Co-operative Society and assured them that they would meet SLN officials at Kankesanthurai and would take appropriate steps to ensure their safety in sea. Thereafter members of the VVT fishing co-operative society decided to end their boycott protest and to go fishing from Friday, sources said.


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