Friday, 07  March 2003  
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Government - Gazette

Silumina  on-line Edition

Sunday Observer

Budusarana On-line Edition

Navy to defuse tension between Indian, Lankan fishermen

by Ranil Wijayapala 

In the wake of increasing disputes between the Sri Lankan fishermen and Indian fishermen encroaching the Sri Lankan territorial waters in the Northern seas the Defence Ministry has given special orders to the Navy to defuse this situation amicably.

Defence Secretary Austin Fernando told the Daily News yesterday that the Navy has been given special orders to arrest all Indian fishing boats encroaching Sri Lankan territorial waters to avert clashes between local fishermen and Indian fishermen.

According to new set of rules by the Defence Ministry the coxwain in charge of the encroaching fishing boat will be held by the Navy and produced before the court to take legal action against them. The remaining fishermen in the arrested boats, who had come as labourers will be handed over to Indian Coast Guards in Indian territorial waters.

The arrested boats will be towed to the Karainagar jetty and will be anchored till the hearing of the cases against the fishermen ends.

The Defence Ministry has given these orders complying with the request made by the Indian government to take action to defuse the situation.

Seventeen Indian fishermen were injured and admitted to hospital on Tuesday following a clash between a group of Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen in the Pesalai sea early this week. The Sri Lankan fishermen had also taken 19 Indian fishing trawlers into their custody along with 58 fishermen.

The Sri Lankan fishermen had resorted to this course of action as their livelihood is greatly affected by the Indian fishermen encroaching Sri Lankan seas.

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