Fishermen to lay siege to Pamban road bridge

Fisherman - Indian protestThe striking fishermen of Rameswaram, who are desperate to get their boats freed from Sri Lanka, have decided to lay siege to the Pamban road bridge on August 23.

Leaders of 11 fishermen associations met here on Tuesday and took the decision because there was no word from the State and the Centre on the release of 62 boats which the Sri Lankan Navy impounded after arresting over 250 fishermen during the new fishing season since June 1.

The fishermen decided to continue the strike, which began on July 24, till the boats were released, said P. Sesu Raja, a fishermen leader. The fishermen also organised a series of agitations, but there was no positive response from the Centre, he said.

Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, who held discussions with fishermen representatives in Chennai on Sunday, promised to secure the release of the boats at the earliest, “but there are no signs yet,” said N.J. Bose, another leader. “When we wanted to launch the ‘sail to Katchatheevu’ agitation on August 2, the Minister assured us of steps to secure the release of the fishermen and their boats within 10 days, but only 94 fishermen have been freed,” he pointed out.

The fishermen were upset after reports suggested that four of the more than 40 boats anchored in Mannar had sunk after suffering damage. They said the other boats also faced the threat of damage when the wind would turn gusty.

Expressing concern at the detention of the boats of Sri Lankan fishermen by the Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh governments, the leaders appealed to the two States to release them immediately. About 36 boats of Sri Lankan fishermen had been impounded in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and other States, Mr. Bose said. (The Hindu)

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