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LTTE killed, abducted Indian fishermen

12 Indian fishermen in LTTE custody - Tamil Nadu Police:

INDIA: Tamil Nadu Police disclosed that the 12 fishermen reported to be missing since March 4 are still in the custody of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). They were not convinced by the LTTE’s denial.

The Tamil Nadu Police Chief D. Mukherjee speaking to Asian Tribune told that LTTE’s ‘denial was not a strong and convincing one”.

The Tamil Nadu Police chief said that LTTE also has told that they will check it up with their formations. He added he is waiting for their positive response.

Mukherjee added: “I have already informed my Government (Tamil Nadu State Government) to take up the matter with the centre.”

He according to the statement made by Bony Bass, one of the six Sea Tigers captured by the Indian Coast Guard, the 12 abducted fishermen are still in the custody of the LTTE.

Earlier the Indian Coast Guard intercepted and captured the vessel ‘Maria’ when it was found drifting in the Indian waters on April 11 and arrested its crew of Indian and Sri Lankan nationalities.

The Sri Lankans arrested in the vessel ‘Maria’ were Robinson, Bony Bass, Arul, Selvakumar, Ravikumar and Gnanathas.

They were transferred to Tamil Nadu police custody on April 20 and the matter was investigated afresh by ‘Q’ Branch CID, a unit of the state police that specializes in extremist-related violence. After sustained interrogation, it found that all six were members of the Sea Tigers.

The investigation revealed that Robinson was the group leader of the six member Sea Tiger unit arrested in the Tiger vessel ‘Maria,’ and Bony Bass the deputy.

According to Mukherjee, the Tigers were transferring arms and ammunition from one of their vessels to smaller boats to be taken ashore when it developed engine trouble and began drifting towards Indian waters.

Some Indian fishermen came across the Sea Tigers, who jettisoned their cargo into the sea and sought the fishermen’s help. In the meantime, a Coast Guard ship in the vicinity spotted the Tiger vessel ‘Maria’.

In the beginning the arrested Sea Tigers accepted that they were Sri Lankan Tamils. But during the investigation by the Q Branch Police they confessed the truth.

The Sea Tigers admitted under questioning that the same vessel ‘Maria’ was involved in the March 29 firing, but that the killers were different.

They revealed that prior to the shooting incident, 12 Indian fishermen had been abducted along with their boat by the Sea Tigers on March 4. The Indian craft had put out to sea from Sakthikulankeni in Kollam district of Kerala on March 4, and men are still missing.

During the investigation Bony Bass admitted that his colleague Thirimeni from the Kokkupidichan LTTE camp located inside Arippu, Mannar told when he contacted him over a satellite phone that the abducted Indians were safe.

In the meantime Robinson said that he has requested his colleagues to free those Indian fishermen without any harassment. It was the Sea Tiger Group led by Manaalan that was involved in the shooting down of the four Indian fishermen, Robinson said.

According to Tamil Nadu Police Chief, Q branch police allowed Robinson and Bony Bass to contact the Kokkupidichan LTTE camp.

Then it was confirmed that the 12 Indian fishermen are in that LTTE camp.

The shooting and abducting of the Indian fishermen has become a serious issue and the LTTE leadership summoned Manaalan and questioned him.

‘Asian Tribune’ learnt that the Tiger leadership wanted to release the 12 abducted Indian Fishermen and end this issue.

But according to some reliable sources, some have advised the Tigers in case they release these fishermen, they may lose the support base in the Tamil Nadu.

(Asian Tribune)

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