'Will move SC to get justice to fishermen families'

Former minister Pramod Madhwaraj speaks to mediapersons in Udupi on Saturday.

Former minister Pramod Madhwaraj on Saturday said he would file a case in the Supreme Court seeking justice to the families of fishermen whose whereabouts were not known even after the discovery of wreckage of missing fishing boat--Suvarna Thribhuja.

“The Indian Navy should accept a fact that it was their Naval Warship, INS Kochi, which was responsible for the tragedy,” he stressed while addressing mediapersons at Udupi Press club.

Madhwaraj said the circumstantial evidences proves that INS Kochi had collided with the boat. He accused Indian Navy of not owning up its responsibility. It is a tragedy that the officials had tried to hush up the case.

“They even ignored the fact that there were seven fishermen and the lives of other families were involved in it.”

He pointed out that Navy officials in their letter had declared that the bottom of their ship INS Kochi was damaged after coming in contact with some hard object on December 16, the day when the fishing boat ‘Suvarna Thribhuja’ went missing. They even failed to respond to the issue when the missing boat made headlines in the media.

Madhwaraj urged Indian Navy to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation to each family, if the involvement of the Naval vessel was proved. Along with the families, the Indian Navy should also pay compensation to the boat owner’s family also. He said if the guilt was proved, Naval officer leading the operation of INS Kochi should also be punished for the accident.

He recollected meeting and urging chief minister to release Rs 10 lakh each to the families. The state government has powers to donate Rs six lakh as compensation package.  He released a few documents which had recorded the call details of district police and the Indian Navy.  He said that the Navy has inquired in a port in Maharashtra over the possible fishing boat which has come under INS Kochi.

“They were aware about the accident. The GPS location and all loss of communication from Suvaran Thribhuja. All these information ends in conclusion that INS Kochi was responsible for the accident,” he said and added that the MLA is also responsible for playing with the lives of the fishermen.

The families were kept in dark and the fact that the fishing boat had met a tragic end was not revealed to none due to elections, he said.

Madhwaraj accused BJP of building up stories in order to divert the attention of the people. They feared that fishermen will rebel against the central government.

Fake news

“It is hilarious that BJP proved their expertise in making fake news and they did the same to misguide the innocent fishermen.” He dared the MLA to take up the cause of the families with the central government and try to get maximum compensation. He said he respects Indian Navy.

“However, a crime is a crime and whoever committed it should be punished according to the law,” he urged.

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