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Petitioners seek referral to International Court of Justice on Sri Lankan navy attacks on Indian fishermen

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in by a non-governmental organisation in India to refer Sri Lankan navy attacks on Indian fishermen to the International Court of Justice, prompting the Director of Fisheries to call for the central government to put diplomatic pressure on Sri Lanka to “avert such instances in future”.

Director of Fisheries G S Sameeran filed a report in response to the petition by Fishermen Care, stating that “Indian fishermen... are apprehended/shot at/harassed by Sri Lankan Navy repeatedly”.

“As per the available information, 168 incidents of shooting on Indian fishermen have occurred between 1991 to 2013 in which 85 fishermen have been killed and 180 fishermen sustained injuries. Subsequently, during 2017, in an incident of shooting, one young fisherman Britjo died and two others were injured,” the report read.

 “As on August 16, 2018, there are 29 fishermen and 177 boats that are still languishing in Sri Lankan custody.”

“Unless the Government of India through diplomatic channels puts pressure on Sri Lanka, there appears to be little chance of securing prompt release of our fishermen or to avert such instances in future,” it continued.

The petition has also led to the Madras High Court seeking further information on the status of a Supreme Court case filed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalaithaa on the status of Katchatheevu, an island that was ceded to Sri Lanka.

It comes as the Sri Lankan navy continues to arrest Indian fishermen, with the latest incident occurring just yesterday. Arrests of fishermen have been frequently carried out by the navy accusing them of using illegal fishing methods and crossing territorial waters.

See more from the Hindu here.


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