Colombo, Apr 23: As if there were no protests and confusions in our own land, a Sri Lankan minister is intending to launch his own protest in India by bringing together 5,000 fishermen from Lanka and alleging that the Indian fishermen were poaching in Lankan waters, thereby affecting the livelihood of the fishermen there.
The Sri Lankan Minister heading the protest is Douglas Devananda who wants to send across a unique message in a unique way. In a statement, he has been quoted as saying, “The Indians enter Sri Lankan waters illegally in large trawlers and engage in large scale fishing. This not only affects the livelihood of Sri Lankan fishermen in the north but also has an impact on our fishing resources. To stop this we have decided to launch a protest."
The attacks on Indian fishermen who mistakenly head to Lankan waters have been a bone of contention among the two neighbours for some time now. In spite of Indian and Sri Lankan fishing associations meeting and discussing over the issue, Devananda stated that no concrete decision was reached on the issue.
The Minister added that Indian fishermen enter Sri Lanka waters illegally to catch fish. On his protest plans, Devananda said that he intends to take close to 1,000 boats and 5,000 fishermen by sea to Rameshwaram in India. He noted that he will press the government to resolve the issue at the earliest.
Xinhua press agency that first reported the matter did not mention when the Minister intends to carry out the protest. The Minister categorically stated that a meeting between fishermen from both counties will not suffice and that both Indian and Sri Lankan governments should sit across the table and settle the issue. He has also suggested joint patrolling between India and Sri Lanka along the international maritime boundary line of both countries.
Earlier, many Indian fishermen had to bear the brunt of Sri Lankan Navy attacking them brutally, with many of them having to face gun shots and even death. The Lankan side accuse the Indian fishermen of not respecting the maritime boundaries and crossing over to the Sri Lankan side.