Fisherman from Tamil Nadu, India were threatened and chased away by Sri Lankan navy patrol boats on Saturday, causing tense conflict in the coastal villages of Tamil Nadu.
Rameswaram fishermen have been unable to go fishing since the beginning of October due weather centre warnings and their commitment in searching for a missing fisherman.
Following a good weather forecast, around 4,000 fishermen and more than 700 mechanised fishing boats from Rameswaram went into the sea after obtaining permission from the Fisheries Department on Saturday. They were then intercepted by Sri Lankan navy officers with guns, who threatened and chased away the fishermen. They were fishing between Katchatheevu and Dhanushkodi at midnight on Saturday and had to return to shore with great financial loss.
The fisherman claim they were attacked with stones and bottles, with their fishing nets also damaged.
Over 50 mechanised fishing boats in the area, returned to shore without catching any fish, were forced to throw their fishing nets into the sea in fear of arrest, causing a loss of 40 thousand to 100 thousand rupees per boat.
The fishermen have demanded that the Central Government pay immediate attention to the issue of fishermen and take immediate action to ensure that the Tamil Nadu fishermen can fish in the Indian Ocean. They have complained about the issue of intervention from the Sri Lankan navy ever since Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected.
Over the years, there have been several similar conflicts between the Sri Lankan Navy and Tamil fishermen from Tamil Nadu as well as from the North-East.