Fishermen firm on ‘Sail to Katchatheevu’

Fisherman - Indian protestThe Rameswaram fishermen have resolved to go ahead with their ‘sail to Katchatheevu’ agitation on Saturday, pressing for the release of all arrested fishermen with boats.

They have been on strike since July 24, protesting against the continued arrest of fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy and confiscation of their boats.

Presently 93 fishermen, including 50 arrested on Monday, were lodged in Sri Lanka prisons and 62 boats remained impounded.

In an informal meeting with the representatives of fishermen associations on Thursday, Collector K. Nanthakumar appealed to them to give up the agitation as the State government was taking steps to secure the release of their colleagues and boats. However, leaders of 11 fishermen associations have decided to go ahead with the agitation after hoisting white flags on the boats, anchored at the fishing jetty here.

“We are fully satisfied with the steps being taken by the State government to protect our interests but the agitation is to register our protest against the Central government’s ‘inaction’ in securing the confiscated boats,” fishermen leader P. Sesu Raja said.

The fishermen proposed to take out a procession from Verkodu church before setting sail to the islet.

The police sources said they would arrest the fishermen before they reached the fishing jetty.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 fishermen in Pamban began an indefinite strike on Friday in support of the Rameswaram fishermen.

“We will abstain from fishing till the Sri Lankan authorities released all the arrested fishermen and their boats,” M. Irudhayam, president of the Island Fishermen Association, said.

Remarks condemned

As they were fighting for their rights, the fishermen leaders took strong exception to the derogatory remarks made in the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry’s website about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The fishing community severely condemn the remarks and portrayal of the Chief Minister in poor taste,” Mr. Raja said. (The Hindu)

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