Indian fishermen want search operation in Sri Lankan waters

Indian fishermen

Indian fishermen, who were in search of three fishermen, who went missing after they had set out for fishing on August 25, launched search operations afresh following reports that a body was washed ashore near Delft Island but returned empty-handed after they were sent back by the Sri Lankan Navy.

G. Arul, coordinator, Pamban All Country Boat Fishermen, said 18 fishermen went in search of the body on Thursday morning in two ‘vallams’ (country boats), but the Lankan navy did not permit them to conduct the search in Sri Lankan waters. They returned on Thursday night, he said.

He said the fishermen, armed with a search order issued by the Assistant Director of Fisheries, Mandapam, almost reached the Delft Island, when the Lankan navy personnel stopped them and sent them back.

The navy personnel, however, offered them food before sending them back with a warning, he said.

The Lankan navy personnel, who went through the search order, told the fishermen that they were allowed to conduct the search only in Indian waters and not in Sri Lankan waters.

Since the fishermen came in ‘vallams’, they did not arrest them, he said, quoting the fishermen.

As the local fishermen tried in vain, the Indian government should prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to launch a search in their waters and retrieve the body, Mr. Arul stressed.

The Lankan navy should also be asked to retrieve the boat which sank in the Sri Lankan waters and search for the bodies, he said. – The Hindu