SL court verdict: Pro-Tamil groups protest in Chennai

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Minutes after a Sri Lankan court sentenced five Indian fishermen to death on charges of smuggling drugs, fishermen from Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu went on rampage — burning buses, damaging railway tracks and public properties.

Police sources from the headquarters here said that one bus belonging to a private agency was burnt allegedly by the angered fishermen after forcing passengers to alight in Rameshwaram area.

Irate fishermen tampered with the railway track at Rameshwaram over the Colombo High Court judgment. They also blocked the road traffic at important junctions especially on the Rameshwaram-Madurai national highway.

At least three people including a woman sustained minor injuries in stone-pelting incidents in coastal districts such as Cuddalore and Kaniyakumari.

Following violence, security has been beefed up in all coastal districts including Chennai. Special police team have been deployed at Sri Lankan High Commission in the state capital to prevent any untoward incident.

Railway sources said that trains from Rameshwaram to Chennai has been cancelled following violent incidents. Transport department sources said that services of all government buses to different areas of Ramanathapuram district were also suspended for a while.

Politicos condemn verdict

Meanwhile, political parties in Tamil Nadu including All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam senior leader and Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and NDA partners strongly condemned the death penalty awarded by a Lankan court to five Indian fishermen and sought Centre’s immediate intervention to secure their immediate and safe release.

“The conviction of these fishermen and the award of death penalty is particularly shocking and unexpected. The manner in which the entire trial was conducted and the orders delayed, gives rise to serious doubts as to whether the fishermen received a fair trial”, O Panneerselvam said in a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Failure to take immediate decisive action in this case and secure justice for the five fishermen will greatly inflame the already bruised emotions among the people of Tamil Nadu”, he said. (Deccan Herald)

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