CHENNAI: After becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K Palaniswami has perhaps got his first chance to become the great Tamil saviour.
Reminding Prime Minister Narendra Modi that protecting the life and liberty of fishermen from Tamil Nadu is the duty of the governments they headed, Palaniswami said the present escalation in the Palk Strait, in which a fisherman from Ramanathapuram was shot dead allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, should not be ignored or tolerated under any circumstance.
“Such inhuman and barbaric tactics by the Sri Lankan side completely nullifies the diplomatic efforts that have been undertaken, including the understanding reached in several meetings between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of India, as well as the recently-concluded Joint Working Group meeting in New Delhi and Ministerial Level Meeting in Colombo, in which it was clearly agreed not to use force against bona fide fishermen at sea,” Palaniswami said in a letter to Modi last week.
According to information, five fishermen, who set off from Rameswaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district, were fishing within their traditional waters when they were surrounded by four Lankan Navy vessels around 9.30 pm last week.
The personnel on the boats opened fire on the unarmed fishermen, indiscriminately and without any provocation, he said.
In the attack, Britjo Hemeles (21) sustained fatal injuries to his neck and died before he could be brought to the shore. Another fisherman, Jeron Dhasan (31), had his arm hurt, and is undergoing treatment at the Government Hospital, Ramanathapuram.
“The Sri Lankan Navy is resorting to tactics involving greater cruelty and unnecessary use of force in an attempt to scare away our fishermen from exercising their traditional rights. In no circumstances can such unprovoked violence from the Sri Lankan side be tolerated.
It is the duty of the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu to protect the interests, and above all life and liberty of our citizens,” said the Chief Minister. Meanwhile, the Coastal Security Group registered an FIR against the Lankan navy for killing K Britjo and injuring Jeron.
The fishermen have decided to boycott the annual festival at St Anthony’s Church on Katchatheevu. The festival was scheduled for March 11 and 12. However, the Prime Minister is yet to respond to Palaniswami’s letter.