Fisherfolk killed in Batticaloa amid SLA ban

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 October 2001, 12:06 GMT]
A fisherman was killed Wednesday in shelling by the Sri Lanka army on Aalankulam, 36 kilometres north of Batticaloa. Nagamani Nagalingam, 25, father of one, was fishing in the Aalankulam reservoir around 1.30 p.m. when he was hit by mortar fire from the SLA camp in Navalady, 6 kilometres northwest of Valaichenai. The SLA imposed harsh restrictions on fishing in the district last month. A widow was shot dead by the SLA on Sunday, 30 September, while dredging for fish and prawns by the lagoon coast in Vavunathivu near Batticaloa town.

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Her body was recovered from the lagoon Monday morning by relatives on being informed by a fisherman who was injured in the SLA firing.

Relatives said that the widow, S. Manohari, 35, had to dredge at night for fish, prawns and clams by the lagoon coast as there was little to get during the day. The SLA banned all fishing after dark in the Batticaloa lagoon last month- pushing hundreds of inland fishermen to scour the lagoon before dusk.

Many small fisher folk like Manohari find hard to ply their trade during the day because of this competition from better equipped fishermen. Driven by poverty, even women and children put their lives on the line to fish at night in this area where the war and unfriendly government policies have severely diminished most avenues for employment and income.

Manohariís husband, a fisherman, was killed in 1990 by Sri Lanka Air Force personnel from the Valaiyiravu SLAF base on the outskirts of the Batticaloa town. Since then Manohari and her two children have eked out a living by working in fields and fishing by the lagoonís coast.

 

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