Raja among 300 CPI volunteers arrested in TN

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Chennai, Jul 30 (UNI) About 300 volunteers of the Communist Party of India (CPI), led by its National secretary D Raja, were arrested when they tried to lay seige to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission office here, protesting against the killing of Indian fishermen by the Lankan navy.

The volunteers, led by Mr Raja, state unit secretary D Pandian and former state unit secretary R Nallakannu, were going in a procession from Music Academy towards the Deputy High Commission office, when police arrested them.

Addressing the protestors, Mr Raja said the agitation marked the beginning of a struggle to get back the rights of Indian fishermen over Katchatheevu, which was conceded to Sri Lanka as per the 1974 agreement.

If the agreement came in the way of protecting the lives of our fishermen, it should be torn to pieces, Mr Raja said and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan President, during the SAARC summit.

Mr Pandian said the Sri Lankan government should take corrective steps and stop killing Indian fishermen after seeing today's agitation. ''The Lankan Navy should resist from firing at our fishermen or we should retaliate,'' he warned.

Flagging off the procession, Tamil National Movement leader Pazha Nedumaran commended the CPI for organising the agitation to highlight the plight of fishermen. Like the CPI, other parties should come forward and organise a national level agitation to exert pressure on Sri Lanka and put an end to the killing of our fishermen.

All those arrested, including Mr Raja, Mr Pandian, Mr Nallakannu and five party MLAs were later released.

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