Lanka Tamils ask Modi to stop poaching in waters
March 8, 2015 12:56 pm
Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party Saturday asked neighboring India to stop poaching in local waters, saying it was affecting fishermen struggling to rebuild their lives after decades of ethnic war.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said they urged the visiting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to ensure that Indian trawlers did not breach the maritime boundary and destroy livelihoods of people in battle-scarred northern Sri Lanka.
“Consequent to Indian trawlers coming here in unlimited numbers, the fishing rights of local fishermen have been greatly disturbed,” TNA leader R. Sampanthan told reporters after talks with Swaraj.
“Some action should be taken to resolve this issue, preferably on an amicable basis without further delay.”
India has maintained the issue should be resolved through “dialogue,” but previous talks between fishermen of the two countries had ended in failure.
Sampanthan said they did not want force used to stop poaching, but defended the fishermen’ right to self defense in case they were attacked.
Poaching is a contentious issue. Until the end of the separatist war in 2009, local fishermen were not allowed to venture out, leaving the rich fishing grounds open to those from India.
However, talks between the Indian minister and her local counterpart, Mangala Samaraweera, skirted the thorny fishing issue and concentrated on other matters, officials said.