A group of Indian fishermen were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy personnel last night for allegedly trespassing into the island nation's territorial waters. One of the fishermen has been injured.
The fishermen have denied that they trespassed into Lankan waters. Stones were allegedly thrown and their nets were torn.
Authorities said there is no formal complaint yet and that they are investigating the incident. "All the fishermen have returned to the shore. None has given a complaint," a senior officer told NDTV.
The injured fisherman is from Tamil Nadu's Rameswaram.
Historically, Indian and Lankan fishermen have been fishing crossing boundaries. However, since the international boundary line was fixed, Sri Lanka began stopping the entry of Indian fishermen, particularly after the defeat of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). Earlier, India's gifting of the Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka too reduced the fishing space for Indian fishermen. With around 600 Indian fishermen killed by Lankan navy for trespass, former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had proposed a lease agreement with Sri Lanka so that fishermen from Tamil Nadu could legally fish in Lankan waters as there is too little catch in Indian waters. Successive governments in the state and the centre too have not evolved a sustainable alternative livelihood opportunity for the two lakh people dependent on fishing.
Over the years, Sri Lanka has also been leaning more towards China which has made enormous investments in the country, making it all the more a diplomatic challenge for the Indian government, pushing the livelihood concerns and traditional rights of the Indian fishermen to the back-burner.