SLA's offer to Jaffna fishermen

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is bargaining with the fishermen of Kaakaitheevu near Jaffna town that longer hours of fishing off coast in that area will be permitted if they are willing to go on a procession denouncing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said sources in Jaffna.

Currently, despite the latest Ministry of Defence order, which stipulates that fishermen can put out to sea and fish between 2:00 a.m. and 6 p.m., the local SLA authorities permit fishing in the area only between 4:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

The SLA has said that an additional two hours will be allowed only if the residents in the area are willing to demonstrate against the LTTE.

Meanwhile, around 350 fishing families from the villages of Thiruvadinilai, Pulliyanthurai in Chullipuram West and Saavakkaadu near Aanaikoddai in the Jaffna peninsula were affected when unidentified persons, took away their nets and boats on October 22, 1997. There are strong suspicions they were members of the Sri Lankan Army.

The fishermen had spent around 7000 rupees in preparing and sending petitions to the Minister of Fisheries and others, but to no avail.

Following talks between Tamil political groups, the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary, and the SLA last week, it was decided to reduce the curfew hours in some areas and thereby permit fishermen to engage in their trade in the waters off the Jaffna peninsula.

However, Jaffna fisherman complain that these orders are flouted at will by the SLA's local commanders.

 

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