Fishermen plan series of protests

Fisher folk fightThe fishermen in Rameswaram on Wednesday announced a series of agitations from September 2 pressing their charter of demands, including release of four of their colleagues and boats detained in Sri Lanka.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at a meeting of various fishermen’s associations, president of Harbour Mechanised Boat Fishermen’s Association P Devadass told reporters.

He said the fishermen would stand in neck-deep water in ‘agnitheertham’ (the sea here) and stage a demonstration on September 2. They would launch an indefinite fast from September 12.

The fishermen demanded restoration of their traditional rights to fish in the Palk Strait.

Besides, they sought compensation from the Sri Lankan government for damage caused to their boats due to idle anchoring.

The fishermen from the island town had resumed fishing operations only on August 3 following a week-long protest after Sri Lanka set 77 of their colleagues free. It, however, refused to release more than 100 seized boats belonging to the fishermen from Tamil Nadu.

Subsequently, four fishermen from Pudukottai were arrested earlier this month.

On August 8, the Tamil Nadu government had informed the state Assembly that retrieval of Katchatheevu, ceded to Sri Lanka in the 1970s, and restoration of traditional fishing rights of the fishermen in the Palk Bay area were its topmost agenda. (Deccan Chronicle)

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