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Ten Indian fishermen arrested in Sri Lanka to be charged with death of a Navy sailor

A senior sailor from the Navy Special Boat Squadron sustained critical injuries due to 'the aggressive manoeuvres of the Indian trawler, resisting its seizure,' said a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 12:21 IST

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Colombo: Ten Indian fishermen, arrested for allegedly engaged in illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan waters on Monday, will be charged with the death of a Navy sailor, who was killed in an operation to seize their trawler, authorities here said.

A senior sailor from the Navy Special Boat Squadron sustained critical injuries due to “the aggressive manoeuvres of the Indian trawler, resisting its seizure,” said a statement issued by the Sri Lankan Navy.

“Unfortunately, the senior sailor succumbed to his injuries after being admitted to the Teaching Hospital, Jaffna,” it added.

The Navy said that 10 Indian fishermen were arrested and their trawler was seized on Monday.

The trawler was brought to the Kankesanthurai Harbour and the fishermen were handed over to the Mailadi Fisheries Inspector for legal proceedings.

The Kankesanthurai Police had filed a ‘B’ report with the Mallakam Court in Jaffna, seeking the prosecution of 10 Indian fishermen.

“They face charges for illegal fishing in Sri Lankan waters, death of a naval person during the operation and for causing damage to naval property,” the statement said.

The Jaffna Magistrate conducted a post-mortem examination of the deceased sailor. The examination determined that the sailor's death was an accident, resulting from spinal cord damage, the Navy said.

The Jaffna fishermen attended the 40-year-old sailor’s funeral in the north-western district of Kurunegala.

The fishermen issue is a contentious one in the ties between India and Sri Lanka, with Lankan Navy personnel even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats in several alleged incidents of illegally entering Sri Lankan territorial waters.

The Palk Strait, a narrow strip of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, is a rich fishing ground for fishermen from both countries.

Fishermen from both countries are arrested frequently for inadvertently trespassing into each other's waters.

The Sri Lanka Navy said it has arrested more than 200 Indian fishermen and seized 27 trawlers for illegal fishing in the country's waters so far this year.

In 2023, the Navy arrested 240 Indian fishermen along with 35 trawlers for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

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Published 27 June 2024, 12:21 IST

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