SLN withdraws passes from Punguduthivu fishermen
[TamilNet, Friday, 30 December 2005, 14:55 GMT]
Angered by the damages to the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) building caused by the residents of Punguduthivu when they protested against the rape of Tharsini (20), the SLN command has withdrawn fishing passes from Punguduthivu fishermen, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian said Friday. Mr Ponnambalam has written a letter to Ratnasiri Wickramanayake,
Deputy Minister of Defence, requesting him to direct the SLN to immediately reissue the passes.
Full text of the letter follows:
"It has been brought to my notice by the Fisherman’s Union of Punkuduthivu that the Sri Lankan Navy has withdrawn the Fishing Passes issued to the fishermen of Punkuduthiva. When the Union members had sought clarification from the Naval Command of the area, they had been informed that the decision was a considered one. The Navy had further stated that until the building that was damaged in Punkuduthivu by the enraged public over the recent rape and murder of young Miss. Tharshini was rebuilt, passes will not be issued.
I am confident that you will agree that this decision by the Navy is completely unacceptable. Not only is it arbitrary, it is also contrary to the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement that you and the Government have expressly committed yourselves to. Accordingly, it would be much appreciated if you would intervene in this matter and get the Navy to co-operate and have the fishing passes issued, so that the fishermen of Punkuduthiva could carry on with their right to their chosen livelihood. As you are no doubt aware, the New Year is only one day away and it is customary for people to usher in the New Year by engaging in their respective professions. Therefore it is all the more important that you treat this appeal as a matter of urgency."