Chennai: Amid huge anger in Tamil Nadu over the killing of a 22-year-old fisherman by the Sri Lankan navy, the government said today that Colombo has promised "full and thorough investigation". India raised the killing with Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and expressed its deep concern as more than a thousand people gathered at the home of the fisherman, Bridgo, in Rameswaram to protest, and his family refused to accept his body.
- Tamil Nadu fisherman shot dead allegedly by Lankan navy
- Protests in Rameswaram over killing; family has refused to accept body
- Government expressed deep concern, raised matter with Lankan PM: sources
Sri Lanka, however, denied shooting at the fishermen in a statement and called it an "unsubstantiated allegation". Asserting that its personnel are not authorized to open fire in such situations, the Lankan Navy said, "Since there is an allegation of a shooting incident, Sri Lanka Navy is carrying out a comprehensive investigation to find out the veracity of this alleged incident."
Bridgo was fishing close to the Katchatheevu islet last evening when Lankan naval personnel opened fire. He was shot in the neck and died instantly. Another fisherman, Sharon, was shot in his leg.
The Lankan personnel did not fire a warning shot before shooting at the fishermen, alleges P Sesuraja, who heads a fishermen's body. Around 2,000 fishermen were taken by surprise when they were fired at, he added.
Tamil Nadu had yesterday protested against fishermen being caught by Sri Lanka and alleged in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the centre "did not seem to put adequate pressure" on Colombo.
Chief Minister E Palaniswami, referring to the arrest of 32 Indian fishermen by Lanka in recent days, said the fishermen's community was suffering "hardship and mental agony".
Tamil Nadu says 85 fishermen and 128 fishing boats are currently in Lankan custody and has urged the centre to take action through diplomatic channels.
The opposition DMK's MK Stalin said, "India should warn Sri Lanka diplomatically that this can't be tolerated and there will be strong repercussions."
Tamil Nadu claims Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen have traditional rights to fish in both territories. The state is also working legally and politically to retrieve the Katchatheevu islet India had gifted Lanka in the early seventies, so that Indian fishermen would get more space to fish.