Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Working President MK Stalin has condemned the killing of an Indian fisherman by Sri Lankan forces, and said the Centre can't be "a mere spectator" anymore.
He demanded that the Narendra Modi government hold embassy-level talks at once on the issue, and wants it to warn Sri Lanka that if Indian fishermen are harmed, the island nation will have to face dire consequences.
''After indulging in the arrest of fishermen and apprehending their boats, they have started to shoot at fishermen and kill them, and the Centre can't be a mere spectator anymore'', Stalin said.
Meanwhile, sources said the Union government is deeply concerned by the killing, and the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Stalin, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, has also requested the AIADMK-run state government government to give the bereaved family a solatium of Rs 25 lakh.
Earlier today, the Tamil Nadu government announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh for the victim's kin.
TN Govt announces Rs 5 lakhs for the dead and 1 lakh for the fisherman injured in shooting by Srilankan Navy
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 7, 2017
22-YEAR-OLD FISHERMAN KILLED; FISHERMEN 'WELL WITHIN INDIAN WATERS'
Stalin's remarks came after a 22-year-old fisherman, Britso, was shot dead near the Palk Strait on Monday, while on a fishing trip.
The young man - who's from Thangachimadam in central Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu - was fishing with others near the islet of Katchatheevu, and Sri Lankan naval personnel arrived at the spot and opened fire, Fisheries Department Assistant Director Kulanchinathan said.
Rameswaram Fishermen Association President P Sesuraja said more than 2,000 fishermen were fishing well within Indian waters when the naval personnel came to the spot, taking them by surprise.
Lankan navy officials didn't even fire a warning shot, he alleged.
Kulanchinathan said Britso's body has been brought to a Rameswaram hospital, and that a case has been registered at the Jetty police station.
Meanwhile, tension prevailed in the area as fishermen from Thangachimadam gathered in front of the hospital to protest the firing by the Sri Lankan navy.
Earlier today, Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi workers, too, staged a protest.
Tamil Nadu: Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi party workers climb tower in protest against Sri Lankan Navy in Rameswaram pic.twitter.com/4MUOOiTAao
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 7, 2017
STALIN ACCUSES CENTRE, TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT, OF NEGLIGENCE
The DMK deputy chief has alleged that both the state and Union governments are negligent when it comes to the Tamil Nadu fishermen issue.
As well, he claimed there's no point in calling Sri Lanka a friendly nation when India's fishermen are being shot dead.
''Fishermen are scared to venture into the sea, and there is no guarantee for their life'', he said.
TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT PROTESTS AGAINST ARRESTS OF FISHERMEN
Yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government protested against the "escalation" in Sri Lanka's arrests of its fishermen, and said the Centre did "not seem to put adequate pressure" on Colombo regarding the issue.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister E Palaniswami referred to the arrest of 32 Indian fishermen by Lankan authorities in the last few days, and said these incidents were causing hardship and mental agony to the community of fishermen.
Noting that currently there were 85 fishermen and 128 fishing boats in Lankan custody, he urged Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry officials concerned to take concrete action through diplomatic channels to secure their release.
(Inputs from agencies)