India fisherman shot dead by Lankan Navy

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Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Sep 28 (UNI) An Indian fisherman was shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy at mid sea near Katchatheevu island today.

According to official sources here, the deceased was identified as S Murugan (32), hailing from Thathaneri in Madurai district.

Murugan along with four other fishermen ventured into the sea for fishing in a mechanised boat from Rameswaram yesterday.

While they were fishing near Katchatheevu island in the early hours today, a Sri Lankan naval vessel opened unprovoked firing on the fishing trawler. Murugan, who was hit by a bullet on his chest, died on the spot. The remaining crew managed to escape unhurt.

His body was brought to the shore and sent to the government hospital, where the doctors conducted a post-mortem.

Later, his body was brought to native Thathaneri for cremation.

A pall of gloom descended on the Island town of Rameswaram and Thathaneri following the incident. A large number of policemen were deployed in the fishing hamlets to prevent any untoward incidents in view of the tense situation.

Meanwhile, fishing folk expressed shock and resentment over the violation of 'assurances' given by the Sri Lankan government to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to the Island nation to attend the recent SAARC summit.

The Sri Lankan government had assured India that they would not resort to firing on Indian fishermen, even if they cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and trespass into Sri Lankan territorial waters.

The Sri Lankan government also assured that legal proceedings would be simplified to release the Indian fishermen very soon after they were arrested by the Lankan Navy.

Various fishermen associations in Rameswaram have called for a joint stir to protest against the highhandedness of the Sri Lankan Navy.

UNI GSM AKJ AS1506

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