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Strife across the Strait - Jaffna fishermen speak with Indian Consul on their grievances

The Northern Province Fisheries Network and the National Fisheries Cooperation Organization held a meeting with the Indian Deputy Consul General for Jaffna on Tuesday to discuss continued difficulties over fishing.

In the meeting, concerns were raised over India's trawling industry and Anrani Jesudasan, coordinator of the Marine Industry Network, issued a request to discuss these issues directly with India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. The Indian consul assured her that this could be arranged.

In recent years, fishermen from the North-East have spoken of Indian trawlers encroaching on their fishing grounds in larger boats which are known to damage the seabed and are capable of carrying a larger catch, often exhausting the fishing reserves thus making it harder for Eelam Tamil fishermen obtain a sizeable catch.

In March, Eelam Tamil fishermen wrote to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M K Stalin, seeking a “progressive” solution affecting the two Tamil fisherman communities on either side of the Palk Strait.

Tamil Nadu fishermen have also been victims to the violence of the Sri Lankan navy being regularly detained en-mass and subject to abusive treatment. In January, Sri Lankan courts maintained the detention of 43 Tamil Nadu fishermen. In October 2021, villagers in Kottaipattinam, Tamil Nadu, staged a sit-in protest for several days demanding the return of two Tamil fishermen captured by the Sri Lankan Navy, as well as the corpse of Rajkiran.

“We have seen pictures of the body. This is not what a person looks like if they drown. The Sri Lankans have given him acid and tortured him. That’s why his body has swelled up. We want answers from the government” said the leader of Kottaipattinam’s Fishermen Association’s Chinnaadaikalam.

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