Initial probe rules out navy's role in Indian fisherman's killing: Lanka

Initial probe rules out navy's role in Indian fisherman's killing: Lanka
The Sri Lankan government today said that an initial probe report has ruled out its navy's involvement in the killing of an Indian fisherman, an issue raised by India with Sri Lanka's prime minister.

The 22-year-old Indian fisherman was shot dead yesterday while he was fishing in a mechanised boat at a short distance off Katchatheevu islet. Local fishermen alleged that he was killed by the Sri Lankan navy while another was injured.

In New Delhi, External Affairs Ministry said, "Government of India is deeply concerned at the killing of an Indian fisherman. Our High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (Ranil Wickremesinghe). The Sri Lankan navy has promised a full and thorough investigation."

Sri Lankan Navy Spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chaminda Walakuluge in Colombo categorically denied any involvement of the navy in the fisherman's killing, saying the navy does not open fire at poaching fishermen and only arrests them.

In a statement, Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka said, "the initial investigations had indicated that the Sri Lankan navy was not involved."

"Irrespective of the parties involved, if in fact a shooting has taken place, it is a matter of grave concern and all possible action will be taken in cooperation with the relevant Indian authorities to investigate into this incident utilising GPS technology as well," it added.

The killing has triggered protests in Tamil Nadu, where Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami condemned the incident and announced a compensation of Rs five lakh for the victim's family.

Palaniswami said the state government has been repeatedly taking up with Centre the various instances of arrest and "intimidation" of fishermen by the Lankan Navy, besides seizure of their boats and pressed for a lasting solution. Hundreds of fishermen also staged a demonstration in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.

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