Frequent arrests by Sri Lankan Navy: TN fishermen protest march to Ramanathapuram collectorate

by IANS |

Chennai, Feb 20( IANS) Fishermen from two hamlets of Tamil Nadu will be holding a protest march from Rameswaram to Ramanathapuram collectorate on Tuesday to protest "arrest and assault" by the Sri Lankan Navy.

The fishermen will be walking 50 kilometres from Rameswaram to register their protests.

The fishermen of Rameswaram and Thanalgachimadom fishing hamlets are abstaining from venturing into the seas since Sunday and their mechanised fishing boats are anchored in the shores with black flags on top.

The fishermen will surrender the RC books of their boats, their Aadhar cards and voter identity cards as they feel that there was no use of them.

Antony Dominic, leader of Rameswaram Fishermen association, told IANS: "The protest we are conducting is for our survival. We have been regularly intercepted and arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy and our costly mechanised boats are impounded. These boats will not be released as Sri Lankans have now resorted to nationalasing these boats-in short taking procession."

"In this manner we cannot move ahead. We have been complaining to both central and state governments but to no avail. All our prayers are fallen on deaf ears and we have now resorted to more aggressive mode to get the matter settled once and for all," he said.

The fishermen leader also said that fishermen will boycott elections until their demands are met.

N.Devadoss, President of Rameswaram Fishermen Cooperative Society who is spearheading the protest rally to the Ramanathapuram collectorate told IANS that the rally would take two days to reach the collectorate as it was a 50 km march.

He said that the protesting fishermen will not resume fishing activities until a permanent solution to the "plauging issue" is made.

Many fishermen from Rameswaram are in Sri Lankan jails for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and some who have repeated their "offense" are undergoing extended prison terms.

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