"Let us fish free in our waters"- federation

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 February 2001, 18:06 GMT]
"The Sri lankan government should allow us to fish freely in our waters", fishermen of the Vadamaradchi division of Jaffna told a visiting delegation of Christian clergymen and lay activists from the southern parts of the island Saturday. "The Liberation Tigers have announced a ceasefire unilaterally for the third time. The Sri Lankan government should avail itself of this opportunity by reciprocating their ceasefire and starting negotiations with them (the Tigers)" said Mr.S.Sooriyakumar, the secretary of the Federation of fishermen's Co-operative Societies of Vadamaradchi, addressing the delegation which comprised 24 persons, including seven Sinhala Christian priests, laity and a clergyman from Scotland.

fishermen.jpg"We had no problems when Jaffna was under the control of the Liberation Tigers. But we face a lot of problems and restrictions under the Sri Lankan army" Sooriyakumar told the Christian delegation when it queried about the predicament of fishermen on Jaffna's Vadamaradchi coast during the discussion.

The delegation asked the members of the Vadamaradchi fishermen's Federation whether they had raised these concerns with the Minister of Fisheries. "Neither the Fisheries Minister nor the Minister for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction for the North took action to redress our grievances", officials of the fishermen's Federation said.

The delegation will be in Jaffna for two more days and will speak to people in various walks of life, a spokesperson for the delegation told TamilNet.

 

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