Fishermen killings: HC asks TN to submit details

The Madras High Court bench here on Thursday directed Tamil Nadu Government to submit details of the cases registered by police regarding attack on Indian fishermen while fishing in the Palk Straits and Gulf of Mannar by Sri Lankan navy and the follow up action taken on it.

Hearing a writ petition seeking to protect the rights of Indian fishermen in the traditional areas in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait and a contempt petition against the Centre’s “failure” to protect Indian fishermen, Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice Karuppiah said the details were needed for making a decision on the petition.

The Judges posted the case for further hearing to April 2. The High Court on January six had ordered to provide adequate security for the fishermen and deploy additional Indian Coast Guard and Naval personnel.

Peter Ramesh Kumar, counsel for the petitioner Stalin, an advocate, said even as a writ petition was pending before the court, 20 fishermen had been been killed and several instances of attacks on Tamil fishermen in the Indian territory were reported and cases had been filed by Tamil Nadu Police.

The attacks took place in the Indian territory and it could not be justified, he said.
The Counsel for the Centre said the attacks had taken place in Sri Lankan territory and no SOS was received about the attack in Indian territory. The attacks could have done by Sri Lankan fishermen for using banned fishing nets.

Tamil Nadu Advocate General Navaneethakrishnan said the position of the government was that livelihood of fishermen from the state should be protected and the Centre should take steps to stop all the violations by Sri Lankan navalmen.

Fishermen should be allowed to fish in their traditional areas. The government was also against the agreement which ceded Katchatheevu, an islet, to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. The International Maritime Boundary should be redrawn to help the fishermen fish without any fear and problem, he said.

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