Lankan Navy complains to India on fishermen threat

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Colombo, Feb 5: Sri Lankan Navy has lodged a complaint with the Indian authorities over ''serious threat'' posed by the poaching Indian fishermen after a naval craft was damaged in a shooting incident off Thalaimannar last night.

Navy spokesman Commander DKP Dassanayake said a flotilla of over 400 Indian fishing trawlers were spotted about 4 km north of Thalaimannar and when the naval patrol craft approached them they came under fire. ''When a couple of naval waterjet inshore patrol craft (IPC) approached to assist a trawler pretending as disabled, people onboard opened fire at them and damaged one of our IPCs,'' Commander Dassanayake told UNI over the phone.

Claiming that the Sea Tigers have been using the presence of Indian fishermen to attack the navy, he said an extensive search operation was underway in the area to apprehend the attackers.

He said the poaching by the Indian fishermen was causing ''a hell of a lot of problem'' to Sri Lanka and the Navy Headquarters have lodged a complaint with the Indian High Commission in Colombo in this regard.

''Poaching of Indian fishermen has been posing a very dangerous threat to our national security. Our craft are vulnerable to enemy attacks and we are unable to fire back due to the presence of large number of Indian fishermen,'' Commander Dassanayake said, adding that the complaint was made last night itself.

''They have to take some serious action to stop this immediately. We are waiting for their positive reply and action,'' the navy spokesman said.

UNI

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