19 member Sri Lankan team to attend Chennai fishermen talks
March 21, 2015 02:36 pm
A 19-member Sri Lankan team, comprising 10 leaders of fishermen and nine officials, will be participating in the talks between the fishermen’s associations of Sri Lanka and India to be held in Chennai on March 24 and 25, officials said on Saturday.
This will be the third time the fishermen’s associations of the two countries are meeting to thrash out the issue of fishing in the Palk Strait and Palk Bay.
The first meeting was held in Chennai on January 27, 2014, and the second was held in Colombo on May 12, 2014. However, these talks had failed to resolve the issues.
While the Lankan fishermen have been complaining about brazen poaching with bottom trawlers by fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puduchery, the Indian fishermen have been claiming that they have a “traditional right” to fish in these waters and that the Lankan fishermen should see it as a livelihood and humanitarian issue.
Recently, Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said in two media interviews that Lanka has the right to shoot intruders, an assertion which raised political hackles in India. So far, the Lankan government has only arrested the intruders and detained their boats. There has been no shooting since 2011.
In the meantime, India and Sri Lanka had agreed to release the fishermen and boats simultaneously. Recently, 43 fishermen and 34 boats were repatriated to India. India has also released Lankan fishermen who were in its custody. As on date, there is no Indian fishermen in custody of Lanka, though 50 Indian boats remain to be repatriated. – The New Indian Express