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Sea cucumber poachers from South enter Jaffna triggering tensions once again

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 June 2020, 23:01 GMT]
A group of eighty Sinhala poachers from South, backed by the SL military and the occupying Colombo's fisheries authorities have camped at the coastal public grounds at Koddadi in Point Pedro since Thursday. In the meantime, another group has arrived in Kudaarappu, Vadamaraadchi East in eight boats violating the Court order on Sunday, said Anantharasa Sureshkumar, a divisional councillor representing Naakarkoayil in Point Pedro Piratheasa Chapai. The intruding poachers claim that they have permits issued by the SL Department of Fisheries in Colombo. However, the practice is legally forbidden in the Beach Seine Fishing seashore from where dragnets (Karai-valai) are laid by the local fishers. The encroachment by sea cucumber divers was opposed by Tamil fishermen who fear environmental destruction as well as ethnic unrest and there have been violent episodes in 2018 in Vadamaraadchi East.

The poachers have camped just 200 meters away from the Point Pedro Harbour, which is used by Sinhala multi-day boat operating fishers with the protection of 524 Infantry Brigade of the SL Army stationed at the locality.

The occupants are stationed at the grounds, used by the people for beach and cultural use. There is a public stage in the open space, and the area comes under the management of the democratically elected civic council.

Colombo has already snatched the harbour away from Eezham Tamils through Sinhala militarisation and the so-called mega port development. The Asian Development Bank is abetting the genocidal ‘port development’.

On Sunday, poachers from the South have arrived with eight boats and equipment to Kudaarappu in Vadamaraadchi East. They are setting up huts there, according to another civic councillor of Point Pedro Piratheasa Chapai, Veluppillai Prashanthan.

The poaching was being systematically expanded from the coast of Mullaiththeevu to Vadamaraadchi East during the previous regime. Now, the occupation has reached the northernmost fishing coast of Eezham Tamils.

Companies in the South that export sea cucumbers to Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan exploit the Sinhala workers and deploy them in the territorial seas and lagoons of Eezham Tamils in the North-East.

The SL Fisheries Ministry and its department, coming under the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka, have been collaborating with these big export-oriented companies.

The native Tamil fishers in Point Pedro have not been able to access the fishing harbour.

Three associations of Eezham Tamil fishers, Koddadi Fishers’ Association, Munai Fishers’ Association and Chuppar-madam Fishers’ Association, have been demanding the fisheries jetties to be reconstructed for a long time. But, these associations are now being silenced through Tamil politicians who collaborate with the ruling regime, grassroots activists in Point Pedro said.

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