TN fishermen driven away, attacked by Lankan Navy, alleges association leader

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Rameswaram (TN), Nov 1 (PTI) Around 4,000 fishermen from here returned without catch after being allegedly driven away by Sri Lankan Navy personnel and also attacked with stones and bottles, damaging their gear and over 50 boats off Dhanushkodi near here, a fishermen association leader claimed on Sunday.

They were fishing in 528 mechanised boats between Dhanushkodi and Katchatheevu when the Lankan Naval personnel, who came on board eight patrol boats started chasing them away on Saturday, throwing bottles and stones as missiles, local fishermen association president P Sesuraja told reporters here.

While around 20 boats returned on Saturday evening itself, others also came without fish catch later in the night and early Sunday, he said, quoting the affected fishermen.

Fishing nets of around 50 boats were snapped and dumped into the sea and as many craft suffered damage in the hurling of stones and bottles, he alleged.

This is the third such mid-sea incident in the last fortnight.

On October 18, the Lankan naval personnel drove away the fishermen.

On Tuesday, the fishermen were attacked using bottles and stones, resulting in injuries to some fishermen and damage to their gear.

The October 27 incident, which marked a break in a long lull in such attacks, drew widespread condemnation from political parties in Tamil Nadu and state Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar said any attack on fishermen was not acceptable and it would be taken up with the Centre.

Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha member K Navas Kani said he has appealed to the Centre and External Affairs Ministry to put an end to such 'attacks' on fishermen from the region. PTI COR VS RAVINDRANATH VS RAVINDRANATH