Sri Lankan Navy 'openes fire,' nine TN fishermen escape unhurt

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Rameswaram (TN), Jun 25 (PTI) Nine fishermen escaped unhurt when Sri Lankan naval personnel allegedly opened fire on their boats while they were returning from the Palk Straits after fishing.

At least four boats in which they were on were riddled by bullets fired by the Lankan Navy and one bullet each was recovered from two boats, Arokiyam, fishermen's representative and also a fisher, told reporters here.

'Luckily, nine of us escaped unhurt,' he said.

A fisheries department official said he has received a complaint from fishermen, seeking action to protect them.

They had to face the 'Lankan bullets' on their return early on Friday and the island Navy also fired in the air, the representative alleged, adding they had set out for fishing on Thursday in more than 200 boats with 1,500 fishermen.

This is the third instance of 'Lankan Navy opening fire' on fishermen in recent times and they were fishing on the Indian side of Palk Straits, he said.

The two bullets that were found in boats were handed over to fisheries authorities, he added.

Video clips of boats riddled by bullets surfaced in the social media as well.

Rajya Sabha MP Anbumani Ramadoss tweeted saying though nine fishermen thankfully escaped unhurt, their boats were damaged. The Central government should condemn this and should provide compensation for damaged boats.

Condemning the firing, Ramadoss said the Centre should not tolerate such attacks anymore.

'To find a permanent solution, the Centre should take legal steps to retrieve Katchatheevu (an islet) that was given to Sri Lanka on a platter,' he said.

Ramanathapuram MP, K Navas Kani, meanwhile, has written to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, seeking appropriate steps to prevent fishermen from being targeted.PTI COR VGN APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR

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