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Sinhala Buddhist monks and Sri Lankan police threaten Tamil fishermen

Sinhala Buddhist monks, accompanied by Sri Lankan police and Sinhalese fishermen, threatened a group of Tamil fishermen in Mullaitivu on Tuesday, as tensions continued to flare in the region between the two groups.

The Tamil fishermen, who were setting up to dry their daily catch in Kokkilai, were approached by a group of Sinhalese fishermen on Tuesday. Accompanied by a local Buddhist monk and Sri Lankan police officers, the Sinhalese group proceeded to threaten the Tamils and destroying their equipment they said.

The Tamil fishermen were quickly forced to flee.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police on Wednesday morning issued a summons to 19 Tamil fishermen and 2 Christian priests, ordering them to report to a police station.

The traditionally Tamil region has seen extensive state sponsored settling of Sinhala fishermen report Tamil politicians, who state that the Sinhalese receive active support from Sri Lanka’s security forces (see here and here).

Tamil fishermen still state they face restrictions on where they can fish, which led to them using Kokkilai harbor, despite it not having been renovated since the end of the armed conflict. Military imposed restrictions along Kokkilai River leave them little choice of other areas to carry out their business.

Sinhalese fishermen backed by the security forces though, continue to enjoy the freedom to fish in restricted areas, report Tamil fishermen.

“If we cannot do our profession at our own place, then where can we go?” they said after the incident.

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