Detained fishermen ordered to be released

Six Tamil Nadu fishermen were injured today when they were allegedly attacked by the Sri Lankan navy which briefly detained 13 others near Katchatheevu in the Palk Straits.

The fishermen, taken to Neduntheevu in Sri Lanka along with their three boats, were ordered to be released, according to officials, who received a wireless message from Sri Lanka.

However, before ordering their release, the fishermen were allegedly hit with sticks and punched several times by the Sri Lankan navy, the sources said.

In the second such incident in two days, six fishermen were injured in the alleged attack by the Lankan navy near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.
Official sources said the fishermen were attacked with stones, nylon ropes and rods and their three boats taken away.

While one fishermen identified as Gnanasekaran has been hospitalised here for head injury, five others suffered minor injuries, they said.

On Sunday, the Lankan Navy allegedly took away at gun point the catch netted by fishermen who put to sea from here, when they were near Katchatheevu after surrounding 10 boats.

In another incident on the same day in Nagapattinam, eight fishermen of Vedaranyam village were injured in an attack allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel in mid-sea off Arukattuthurai in Tamil Nadu.

Today's attack comes a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, charging the government with "soft handling" the issue of Sri Lankan Navy's alleged attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Ruling UPA key ally DMK chief M Karunanidhi had also slammed recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen and demanded that the Centre seek a strong and permanent solution to the vexed issue.

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