Vadamaradchi fishermen complain of SLA harassment

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 23 July 2003, 03:10 GMT]
The Vadamaradchi Federation of Fisheries Co-operatives (VFFC) Tuesday requested the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to take immediate steps to stop the Sri Lankan government security forces from registering their boats, saying that their crafts had already been registered by the Department of Fisheries, federation officials said.

The Sri Lanka Army is now engaged in distributing the necessary forms to fishermen who own fishing crafts in the coastal areas of Jaffna district, requesting them to fill in these forms the details of their boats. " This act cannot be accepted in the present peaceful environment," the VFCC said in the memorandum.

The VFCC has also informed the SLMM of the harassment by the Sri Lankan security forces of the fishermen, forcing them to anchor their crafts at spots in the sea designated by the SLA. " This condition cannot be implemented due to practical difficulties such as finding the correct depth of water to anchor the boats," said the VFCC in its memo to the SLMM.

Furthermore, the Sri Lanka Army is “deliberately delaying permission to fishermen to bring new boats to their coastal villages,” the VFCC memo said.

The fishermen, meantime, “find it very difficult to market their catch daily as the government troops refuse permission to transport them outside their villages. This has caused tremendous financial difficulties to the fishermen,” the VFCC complained to the SLMM.

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