SLA troops assault fishermen over Indian poachers
[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 February 2004, 11:56 GMT]
Sri Lanka army troops Thursday assaulted fourteen civilians in Viyaparimoolai and Inparutty near Pt. Pedro town for capturing 27 Indian fishermen and 5 trawlers and for coming ashore during ‘prohibited’ hours. Fishermen from the two villages brought ashore Indians who were poaching in the seas off Jaffna’s Vadamaradchi coast Wednesday night. SLA troops assaulted an Indian fisherman for getting off his boat.
Fishermen on peninsula’s Vadamaradchi coast say that Indians not only poach in the seas of Jaffna but also deliberately destroy their nets worth millions.
“We have complained to the military and Sri Lankan government authorities about the poaching and the millions we lose when the Indian poachers cut our nets. But nobody cares,” said a spokesman for the Inparutty Fishermen’s Co-operative Society.
SLA soldiers inspecting a box taken from one of the captured Indian boats
Police produced two Indian boatmen in Pt. Pedro district court Thursday. They were remanded until 26 February.
Meanwhile, the commander of the SLA 52-4 brigade in Pt. Pedro told Inparutty fishermen’s society representatives Wednesday night that they had no right to capture poaching Indians. But the fishermen’s society officials pointed out to him that they had brought the matter to his notice at the last monthly meeting at the Pt. Pedro brigade to discuss problems relating to military regulations on the coast and sea.
An Indian poachers' boat
They told the brigade commander that they were compelled to take action against the Indian fishermen as the military had not done anything about the matter.