The Web Sri Lanka In Focus

Thursday, 31 July 2008

80 Indian fishermen assaulted by Lankan navy

About 80 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were allegedly assaulted by the Sri Lankan navy in the Palk Straits in the early hours on Thursday, officials here said.

The incident occurred even as political parties in the state staged protests during the past few weeks, demanding that the Centre take up the recurring incidents with the island nation and provide adequate security to fishermen.

Quoting the fishermen, the officials said about 80 of them, sailing in 20 boats, were assaulted with clubs while they were fishing around Katchathivu island, which was ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.

Many fishermen had to abandon their boats and jump into the sea to escape the assault. They stayed afloat for more than one hour, then got back into their boats and returned to shore.

The ruling DMK and many other political parties, including AIADMK, CPI and MDMK had held protests over the incidents.

In a statement, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa said she would move the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of ceding Katchathivu, an uninhabited island in the Palk Straits, to Sri Lanka by India.

For its part, the Sri Lankan government has been denying that its Navy has a hand in the incidents and blamed the LTTE for the attacks.

Source: sify