Sinhalese fishermen protest outside Indian embassy
[TamilNet, Monday, 10 May 1999, 15:49 GMT]
More than forty Sinhala fishermen demonstrated in front of the Indian High Commission this afternoon, demanding the release of their colleagues who have been detained in India. The protesters were blocked when they attempted to enter the high commission and present a memorandum.
An high commission official, however, received the memorandum at the gate from the protesters.
The demonstration was organised by The National Fisheries Solidarity (Negombo) and the United Fishermen's and Fishworker's Congress.
A spokesman for the organisations said that more than sixty fishermen arrested by the Indian Coast Guard are languishing in South Indian prisons without trial.
He added that more than fifteen trawlers and boats belonging to Sinhala fishermen from the southern and western coasts of Sri Lanka impounded by the Indian authorities are yet to be released.
The Indian Coast arrests Sri Lankan fishermen who go close to the shores of the South Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in search of valuable fishing grounds.
Indian officials say that Sri Lankan smugglers from the island's western and north-western coast who regularly ply their trade in the gulf of Mannar and beyond are also apprehended by the coast guard and customs.