Poaching by Indian fishermen discussed at conference
[TamilNet, Friday, 28 May 2004, 17:48 GMT]
Fishermen from the North-East met with their counterparts from South India at a two-day conference in Colombo on Thursday and Friday to discuss the poaching by Indian fishermen and other problems faced by them. The National Fishermen’s Cooperative Council of Sri Lanka organized the conference.
|Bishop of Mannar, the Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, speaking.
As a prelude to the conference, the Mannar ‘Valvuthayam,’ an association counseling people in the Northwest town on the problems they confront, organized a meeting in the town Monday where the representatives of the fisheries societies of the two countries participated and exchanged views, sources said.
In recent years, fishermen in the North-East have repeatedly complained of poaching and attacks by Indian fishermen.
A group of 21 representatives of Indian fishermen, led by a key official of the Fisheries Cooperatives in South India, Mr.V. Vivekanandan, is visiting Sri Lanka for face-to-face discussions on the issues affecting both countries’ fishermen in the North-East seas.
|Mr. A. Jesuthasan, the coordinator of the National Fishermen's Cooperative Council.
Representatives of fishermen’s unions from the districts of Jaffna, Mannar and Negombo participated at the Colombo conference.
Fr. S. Jesurajah, the coordinator of the ‘Valvuthayam,’ presided over the Mannar meeting on Monday.
The Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, the Tamil National Alliance MPs from the Vanni district, Messrs. Selvam Adaikalanathan, N. Sivasakthi Ananthan, S. Noharathalingam (Vino), and Sivanathan Kishore participated.
The Mannar Government Agent, Mr. V. Visvalingam, the Assistant Director of Fisheries in Mannar, Mr. Thaiyub, the Coordinator of the NGOs in Mannar, Mr. P. M. Croos, the Deputy Divisional Secretary for Mannar and many prominent citizens in the town also attended.
On behalf of the Sri Lanan security forces, Lt. Kaluhetti of the Sri Lanka Navy, the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Mr. Uda Pamunugama, Sub Inspector Suriyaperuma of the Thalaimannar Police and Inspector Cyril of the Mannar Police particpated.
Participants at the Mannar meeting.
Mr. A. Jesuthasan, the coordinator of the National Fishermen’s Cooperative Council also attended.
Most of the participants described the meeting as ‘constructive.’
The Mannar fishermen’s society’s representatives reiterated that the Indian fishermen, who had been fishing freely in the North-East seas during the 20 year period of war while the local fishermen remained banned by the Sri Lankan security forces from the seas, should no longer enter the territorial waters of the North-East or Sri Lanka.
The Bishop, Vanni MPs, Sri Lanka government officials and others explained the difficulties faced by the local fishermen in Mannar during the war years, and said that the problems caused by Indian fishermen’s poaching could be solved through dialogue.
Moreover, the participants described the history of the Tamil people's struggle for their fundamental rights, and said that a solution should be found in this context for enabling the people to move in freedom in land or at sea in the North-East.
Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, the Vanni MP, speaking. Seen in the background are Fr. Jesuthasan (L) and Fr. Devarajah.
The Mannar GA, Mr. V. Visvalingam, speaking.
Fr. Devarajah (L) and Vanni district MPs (L-R) Sivanathan Kishore, Sivasakthi Ananthan and Vino Noharathalingam.