India summons SL HC; seeks explanation in fisherman killing

New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) India today summoned Sri LankanHigh Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam to lodge a strong protestover the killing of a fisherman by Lankan Navy, asserting thatsuch incidents have no "justification" and calling onauthorities there to "desist" from use of force.

However, the Sri Lankan envoy denied involvement of hiscountry''s Navy in the killing of the fisherman yesterday.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna hassought a detailed report from the Indian High Commissioner inColombo, who has taken up this matter with the Lankangovernment and expressed "deep concern and regret" over it.

In a fresh incident of attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen inPalk Straits, one person was killed when Sri Lankan Navyallegedly opened fire at three fishermen, who put out to seafrom Jagadapattinnam near Pudukottai.

Emphasising that resorting to firing in these situationshas "no justification", India called on the Sri Lankanauthorities to "desist" from use of force.

The Government summoned Kariyawasam to the MEA where theJoint Secretary in the division dealing with Sri Lankaregistered India''s strong protest.

Kariyawasam denied the involvement of Lankan Navy inthe incident but said Colombo will conduct an inquiry sinceIndia had officially informed about it.

"Our enquiries reveal that the Sri Lankan Navy is notinvolved. The Navy is under strict orders never to fire atfishermen even if they cross international boundary linetowards Sri Lanka," Kariyawasam told reporters after themeeting.

He said investigations will happen in Lankan side andIndian side as well to find out what exactly happened.

"But my information at this point from our Navy is thattheir vessels were not in that area...But nevertheless we willconduct an inquiry since we have been officially informedabout this incident," he said.

Asked whether the incident happened on Sri Lankan side,he said their Navy never crosses into Indian waters "but asyou know Indian fishermen sometimes crosses the boundary lineand fish in our waters".

The MEA said, "we have consistently emphasised to theSri Lankan Government to refrain from firing on our fishermenand scrupulously adhere to the October 2008 understandingreached between the two governments. We call on the Sri LankanNavy to exercise maximum restraint and avoid use of force insuch situations." PTI SJY PYK

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