Sri Lankan fishermen welcome Ranil’s ‘shooting’ remarks
March 31, 2015 12:52 pm
Fishermen of the Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province say they welcome Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s remarks that Indian fishermen may be shot if they intruded into Sri Lankan waters.
Wickremasinghe had stirred controversy ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Sri Lanka, when he had made the statement during an interview with an India TV channel.
He had said that the Sri Lankan navy would only be acting as per law when it fires at Indian fishermen entering Lankan waters and therefore they should keep away.
“If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed...Law allows me to do that,” the PM had said.
V. Aruldas, President of the Vadamaraj Fishermen’s Association, stated that they welcome the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s remarks.
He added that the Indian government imposed a 40-day ban on fishing to enable the sea to recoup its resources due to the overexploitation of their own sea resources by Indian fishermen using trawlers and banned fishing nets.
Speaking to Ada Derana, Mr Aruldas accused Indian fishermen of attempting to do the same thing in Sri Lankan waters by destroying the aquatic resources using illegal methods.
He warned that if an immediate solution is not provided to this issue, fishermen and their families in Northern Sri Lanka would have to resort to drinking poison to commit suicide. He guaranteed that this would start to happen within the next 2 months or so.
Mr Aruldas also accused the Sri Lankan Navy of supporting the Indian fishermen who are violating the maritime boundary line and illegally poaching in Sri Lankan territorial seas.
He also claimed that the frequent accusations of Sri Lankan navy personnel attacking Tamil Nadu fishermen and their boats are complete lies.
He also objected to allowing Indian fishermen to engage in poaching activities in Sri Lankan waters for a set period.
Media reports claim that during the third round of talks between representatives of fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka ended in Chennai last Tuesday, the Lankan fishermen agreed to Indian fishermen fishing in Sri Lankan water for 83 days per year.
Mr Aruldas stated that Indian fishermen are not suitable to be given such an opportunity as they would resort trawling and using banned fishing nets during that period, thereby harming aquatic resources in Sri Lankan seas.