SLA stops fishing boats coming ashore
[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 June 2002, 14:22 GMT]
Fishermen in Inparutti near Pt. Pedro in Jaffna blocked the main coastal road Saturday when the Sri Lanka army refused to let more than 24 catamarans and 12 boats come ashore as these had not obtained permits from the military to fish in the sea. Fishermen in Inparutti said that they had set out to sea Friday evening without obtaining permits from the SLA because Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence had promised Thursday to lift draconian controls on fishing following an agitation by the Federation of Fisheries Co-op Societies in Northern Province last week.
The Inparutti fisher folk placed logs and sat across the road when the SLA refused to let the boats and catamarans come ashore Saturday morning.
Fishermen in Jaffna had to obtain special permits from the SLA to fish in the Jaffna lagoon and the coastal waters of the peninsula. Fishing was completely banned in several parts of the coast and inland.
The SLA spoke to the fishermen after it found that military vehicles could not ply the Pt. Pedro-Thondamanar road because of the protest.
"We had to explain to the army that the Ministry of Defence has said that there is no need now not get permits from the military to set out to sea. The army was not aware of the MoD decision," said an official of the Inparutti fisheries co-op society.
The Sri Lankan government promised to lift draconian controls on inland, coastal and deep-sea fishing in the island's northeast province under the ceasefire agreement it signed with the Liberation Tigers in February this year.
Protests erupted in the north when restrictions were not lifted as promised. Demonstrations by fishermen paralysed the Jaffna District Secretariat two weeks ago.
Boats and catamarans at the Inparutti beach Saturday morning. (Photo: TamilNet)