Protests, anger after Tamil Nadu fisherman shot dead by Sri Lankan Navy

Arkadev Ghoshal
Protests, anger after Tamil Nadu fisherman shot dead by Sri Lankan Navy

Drama erupted in Tamil Nadu after a fisherman from the state was shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy: The fisherman's family refused to take back his body, and soon political parties were jumping into the fray to politicise the issue and gain some mileage from it.

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What happened

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The 32-year-old fisherman, named Britso, had gone fishing between Danushkodi and Katchatheevu when a Sri Lankan Navy vessel approached them and opened fire. Bullets hit Britso, and the resident of Ramswaram was reportedly killed on the spot.

After his body was brought back home, members of his family refused to take it back and perform the last rites, demanding justice.

According to local reports, another fisherman was also injured in the attack, which came all of a sudden because the Sri Lankan Navy did not fire a warning shot, said the fishermen. They also said they were fishing well within Indian waters when the attack occurred.

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As soon as news of the incident spread, members of the Rameswaram Fishermen Association and people from several sections of the community started protesting in Rameswaram. People first took to the streets and then gathered at public places, sitting down for the agitation.

Government and political reaction

DMK working president MK Stalin said on Tuesday: "It is high time the Central government reacts strongly to this problem. We can't be a mute spectator."

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Tamil Nadu, it may be noted, has already written several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Manmohan Singh in this regard.

The Tamil Nadu government subsequently announced a solatium of Rs5 lakh for the family of Britso and Rs1 lakh for the other fisherman injured in the attack.

Meanwhile, members of the Thamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi climbed onto an electrical tower in Rameswaram with flags of the political party in protest against the incident.

According to news agencies, the Central government is "deeply concerned" by the killing. India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka has taken up the matter with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

Ministry of External Affairs sources subsequently said that the Sri Lankan Navy had promised a full and thorough investigation into the matter. 

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