Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested: The Sri Lankan Navy on Saturday (February 3) arrested 23 fishermen from Rameshwaram and Thangachimadam and also seized their two motor boats. The fishermen were engaged in fishing in Nedunthivu when they were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. Due to this, fishermen unions in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu on Sunday (4 February) threatened to boycott the Lok Sabha elections.
Sri Lankan authorities have taken 23 fishermen to Mileti port and they are likely to be produced in court. An urgent meeting was called by fishermen associations at Thangachimadam on Sunday, where a resolution was passed. Under this, an appeal was made to the Central Government to ensure the release of 23 fishermen from Sri Lanka.
In this meeting, a proposal was also passed to take back the 150 seized motor boats lying in the ports of Sri Lanka without any delay, as this will free the fishermen from debt. The resolution also states that if the demands of the fishermen are not addressed, the fishermen will boycott the Lok Sabha elections 2024 and will not allow any of their members to cast their votes at the polling stations in the fishing villages of Rameshwaram and Thangachimadam.
23 fishermen arrested
Sri Lankan Navy personnel on Saturday night captured the boats of J Sahayraj and A James, in which 23 fishermen were engaged in fishing in the mid sea. After this he was taken to Sri Lanka. Fishermen’s association leaders condemned the arrests and said arrests of fishermen in Palk Bay waters by the Sri Lankan Navy had become a routine affair in recent times.
150 boats seized in six years
About 10 fishermen were arrested on January 18, just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit on January 21. However, due to the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the district, he was released within two days.
Association leader Jesu Raja said that from 2018 to 2024, Sri Lankan Navy personnel have seized 150 boats. Although the arrested fishermen were released due to the intervention of the Central Government, the boats were not released from Sri Lankan custody.
‘Fishermen’s livelihood affected’
Fishermen’s association leader Johnson Sebastian said, “Each boat is worth around Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore. The livelihood of the fishermen has been affected after the boats were seized.” He also called upon the Central Government to intervene at the top level and help in bringing back all the boats seized since 2018.
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