India conveys "concern" over fishermen killing to Sri Lanka

Colombo, Jan 31 (PTI) India today expressed "seriousconcern" over the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly bySri Lankan Navy, saying New Delhi expects Colombo to "put inplace effective measures" to avoid occurrence of suchincidents in the future.

The Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has saidthat she has conveyed India''s concern to President MahindaRajapaksa on killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly byLankan Navy, during her two-day visit to the country.

"My visit is to underscore the very serious concernabout the issue. And we expect Sri Lanka will put in placeeffective measures to avoid occurrence of such incidents inthe future," Rao told reporters just before wrapping up herhurriedly arranged visit to Colombo.

She said that she met President Mahinda Rajapaksa andconveyed the New Delhi''s concern to him.

"He was very receptive" during her visit both sidesagreed that the use of force cannot be justified under anycircumstances, a joint statement issued after the conclusionof visit stated.

"The Sri Lanka authorities emphasised in this regardthat it is the consistent policy of Sri Lanka to treat in ahumanitarian manner all fishermen, including those from theIndian fishing community, who cross into Sri Lanka waters."

Two sides also noted the decrease of incidents afterJoint Statement on Fishing Arrangements between two countriesin 2008.

"They agreed on the need to discuss arrangements basedon the current situation so as to strengthen the safety andsecurity of the fishermen" the joint statement said.

It was decided to convene next meeting of the JointWorking Group at an early date. During her visit Rao also metExternal Affairs minister G L Peirs and defence secretaryGothabhya Rajapaksa.

Earlier, strongly reacting to the killing of a secondIndian fisherman allegedly by the Lankan Navy, New Delhi hadtermed it as "unacceptable" and sought a report in the matterfrom its mission in Colombo.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in New Delhi hadtaken the matter "very seriously", saying it was"unacceptable", sources had said.

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