Take up fishermen issue: Karunanidhi urges PM

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Chennai, Sep 7: Accusing the Sri Lankan Navy of recklessly opening fire on Tamil Nadu fishermen, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday, Sep 7 urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take up the issue with the island government so that it can instruct the Lakan Navy to exercise restraint and refrain from shooting innocent fishermen.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, copy of which, was released to the media here, Mr Karunanidhi took serious exception to the shooting incident of Nagapattinam fishermen by the Lankan navy on September four, near the Sethusamudram project canal, in which one fishermen was injured and admitted to Thanjavur Medical Hospital for treatment. ''It is needless to say that the Lankan Navy does not reciprocate the goodwill shown by Indian Coast Guard and Navy in dealing with the Lankan fishermen apprehended for crossing the IMBL and fishing in Indian waters,'' he said.

''The Lankan Navy continues to open fire recklessly without issuing any warning, resulting in injury and even death of Indian fishermen in the seas which is against the international laws of the sea,'' he said.

Mr Karunanidhi said the strong protests of the state government with the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka and the centre with the Sri Lankan government on the increasing number of such incidents have not become fruitful.

On the other hand, ''The incidents of harassment continue unabated and the number of fishermen who venture into the sea for fishing have been continuously complaining about the differential and the inhuman treatment meted out to them by the Lankan Navy'', the Chief Minister added.

Recalling his recent discussion with the Prime Minister on the issue of fishermen Mr Karunanidhi said inspite of the assurances given by the Centre, the fishermen of the state feel insecure and were reluctant to carry out fishing in the Indian seas for the fear of attack by the Lankan Navy without any warning. ''It would not be out of context to mention that every time a shooting incident or apprehension of Indian fishermen takes place near the IMBL, the Lankan Navy immediately denies the occurrance of such incident'', the Chief Minister said.

Citing statistics, he said from January 2006 to till date, 27 incidents of shooting of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Lankan Navy had taken place, wherein, eight people were killed and 24 injured.

''The background of all the fishermen dead or injured reveal them to be bonafide innocent fishermen. Likewise, the apprehension of Indian fishermen in this period is 342,'' Mr Karunanidhi said.

He said though the issue of harassment of shooting of Indian fishermen had been taken to the notice of the Lankan government for exercising control of their Navy in the recent SAARC summit by the Prime Minister with the Lankan President, the latter failed to take any action.

Soon after the summit, ten fishermen of Nagapattinam area were apprehended on August nine and shooting of fishermen had taken place on September four, he added.

UNI

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