18 Indian fishermen allegedly captured by Sri Lankan Navy

Chennai At least 18 Indian fishermen have been allegedly captured by the Sri Lankan Lankan Navy. They were reportedly caught from Indian waters nears Katchatheevu island.

All fishermen are from Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram area.

There is no official confirmation from the Lankan government yet.

There have been reports of such incidents earlier as well. The Lankan Navy had allegedly arrested 16 fishermen on March 3 and charged them with trespassing into Lankan waters. They were, however, released them after nine days.

Earlier this month, four fishermen from Puducherry were injured in an alleged attack by Sri Lankan Coast Guard personnel, who, they say, threw chilli powder in their eyes, beat them up and dumped their equipment, worth Rs 15 lakh in the sea.

In yet another incident, a 40-year-old fisherman from Karaikal was injured when Lankan Navy personnel allegedly fired at his fishing boat.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week saying these incidents should be viewed as an "indirect attempt to intimidate India and browbeat it into not raising its voice" against Sri Lanka on the Tamil issue at the international fora, which is highly unacceptable.

All political parties in Tamil Nadu, including Ms Jayalalithaa's rival the DMK, which is an ally of the ruling Congress, have been bringing pressure on the Union government to vote against Sri Lanka on a resolution expected to be moved by the United States when the top human rights body of the UN, the UNHRC, meets in Geneva later this month. The resolution will focus on alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan defence forces as they defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels after a lengthy civil war in 2009.

Story First Published: March 13, 2013 19:57 IST

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