Rights Forum seeks security to vulnerable fisherfolk

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Chennai, Nov 11 (UNI) A public interest litigation seeking adequate security to Indian fishermen and compensation to those killed in firing by Sri Lankan navy was filed in Madras High Court.

The petition filed by advocate P Pugalenthi, joint secretary of Tamil Nadu People's Rights Forum, cited a discussion in the Rajya Sabha in 2003 in which the Centre admitted that a large number of Indian fishermen died or sustained injuries in the firing by Sri Lankan navy.

The petitioner submitted that according to this discussion, the death toll which was ten in 1986, rose to 22 in 1987. The toll was eight and 39 in 1992 and 1996, respectively. Despite assurances by the Centre and the state government, the killings were going on unabated.

He also submitted that though a joint statement on fishing arrangements was announced on October 26, two fishermen from Akkaraipettai were injured in the firing on November 7. Again, on November 8, Indian fishermen numbering over 100 were attacked and chased away by Sri Lankan navy.

The petitioner also submitted that the government had failed in its duty to protect the human and Constitutional rights of fisherfolk and it had failed to initiate any measures so far to bring the culprits to book.

No compensation has been paid to injured fishermen or families of those killed in such firings in the high seas, he also contended.

Alleging violation of fishermen's fundamental right to life and liberty, the petitioner wanted the government to protect their lives and pay adequate compensation to the families and dependants of fishermen injured or killed in such incidents.

The petition is likely to come up for hearing before the first Bench of Madras High Court on November 13.


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