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Navies of India, Sri Lanka to hold meeting

[Hindu, Saturday, 25 September 2010 07:55 No Comment]

The Coast Guard and the Indian Navy have decided to hold an urgent meeting with the Sri Lankan Navy to discuss ways and means to stop “physical attack” on Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Though the venue of talks is yet to be decided, the meeting is expected to take place in a week considering the recent complaints of attacks on the Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Speaking to The Hindu on Friday, Commandant D.S. Saini, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Station, Mandapam, said the proposal for the meeting was accepted by the Sri Lankan Navy, which came forward to depute a high-level delegation. “On humanitarian ground, we had asked for an urgent meeting, which was promptly accepted by the Sri Lankan Navy and it is to be held in 3 or 4 days,” he said.

Though many issues were likely to be discussed, the focus would be on reports of alleged physical attack on Tamil Nadu fishermen. The need to avoid the attacks on fishermen who had inadvertently or consciously crossed the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) would be emphasised. While stating that there were no incidents of shooting, resulting in injuries to fishermen in the recent past, Mr. Saini said it was also important to stop causing injuries to them through other means.

The main point was that fishermen should not be physically assaulted or harassed if they violated the transnational border. Action could be taken on them as per the law of the land. Law could take its course. Regarding the incident in which seven fishermen of Rameswaram were injured a few days ago near Kachchatheevu allegedly in an attack by the Sri Lankan Navy, he said it had not taken place in Indian waters. To a question, he said though a group preferred to go fishing in areas that were informally agreed upon by the fishermen of India and Sri Lanka recently, it could be accepted only after the ratification by the two governments.

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