Boats return from Tamilnadu after thirteen years

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 September 2003, 01:48 GMT]
Sixty one mechanized fishing boats of Tamil fishermen of Trincomalee left Monday morning around eight from Nagapatinam port in South India to Trincomalee towed by twelve Indian trawlers after thirteen years in the custody of Indian officials, northeast provincial council (NEPC) sources said.

Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) officials Monday confirmed that Trincomalee fishermen owned crafts had left Nagapatinam and would stay at Kankesanthurai port during Monday night. The boats are expected to arrive Codbay fisheries jetty in Trincomalee harbour on Tuesday around noon, NEPC official said.

A group of Tamil fishermen with their families fled in their mechanized boats to Tamilnadu in June 1990 when Sri Lankan government troops unleashed violence against Tamils in Trincomalee, sources said.

Since then the sixty-one crafts had been in the custody of Indian officials in Nagapatinam. Meanwhile some the Trincomalee fishermen who sought refuge had returned bringing back their families leaving their vessels in Nagapatinam. The rest had been staying in Tamilnadu refugee camps. Now they are also allowed to travel with their boats to Trincomalee, sources said

Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan first took up this matter with the Prime Minister in July this year for the first time after the ceasefire agreement came into operation.

"It is essential that their boats are brought back, as these families have to start fishing on which they depend for their livelihood. Without being able to fish, they are undergoing immense difficulty to sustain themselves and their families," Mr.Sampanthan told the Prime Minister through his letter.

Mr.Sampanthan wanted the Prime Minister to take up this matter though his office with the Indian government. The Prime Minister's office has now made the necessary arrangements to bring back these crafts, sources said.


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