VVT fishermen protest against SLA search

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 June 2003, 11:47 GMT]
Hundreds of fishermen of Valvettithurai, in Vadamarachchi division in Jaffna district Wednesday did not go out to sea as a protest against the search conducted on their boats in their absence on Tuesday night by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). Engine rooms of all boats beached in the shore were forcibly opened by the army soldiers causing damages to fishing gear and other accessories during the search operation, fisheries cooperative sources said.

A group of VVT fishermen Wednesday went to the office of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in two buses and complained to the SLMM monitors that they would not go for fishing until the SLA gave an assurance that it would conduct any search on the fishing crafts only in the presence of boat owners, sources said.

SLMM was told by fisheries delegation that boat owners fear that the SLA may introduce prohibited articles inside their boats to implicate them with criminal offences. Furthermore fisheries cooperative delegation told the SLMM that boat owners cannot be held responsible for the presence of any prohibited articles found in their fishing crafts, which had been subjected to search by the SLA in the fishermen's absence on Tuesday night, sources said

SLMM monitors based in Jaffna rushed to Valvettithurai with fisheries co-operative delegation and commenced talks Wednesday evening around four with the SLA officials located in army camp in the area. The outcome of the talks is not yet known, sources said.

 

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