New Delhi, Mar 21 : India should initiate legal proceedings against Sri Lanka in connection with the alleged killing of an Indian fisherman in that country, a delegation of Tamil Nadu fishermen demanded today during a meeting with External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. Accompanied by Union Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan, the delegation also urged Swaraj to extend financial assistance to the family of deceased fisherman Bridgo who was allegedly shot dead on March 6 while fishing in a mechanised boat off Katchatheevu islet.
Fishermen from Tamil Nadu have alleged that he was killed by the Sri Lanka Navy. “We have asked Swaraj to initiate legal action against Sri Lankan government as the Navy of that country killed him. We want justice for Bridgo’s family,” said Arulanandam, who led the six-member delegation.
Swaraj told the fisherman that the Sri Lankan government is conducting a thorough investigation into the killing of the Indian fisherman, official sources said. She assured them that the Centre would closely engage with the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of all Indian fishermen in custody of that country.
She also reiterated the government’s commitment for early implementation of the Rs 1,500 crore package to develop deep sea fishing capacities for fishermen in Tamil Nadu and informed that initial financial allotment in his regard had been made. In the meeting, the fishermen apprised Swaraj about the difficulties they face in fishing in waters between India and Sri Lanka.
The delegation also demanded the Centre’s intervention to curb attacks on fishermen and also asked for ensuring release of 139 fishing boats from the custody of Sri Lankan Navy. “While carving out a permanent solution for fishermen, we have also asked the government to allow us to take up fishing activities in areas somwhere between Rameshwaram and Nagapattinam to provide livelihood of fishermen,” Arulanandam said. Union Minister Radhakrishnan said India will soon start deep-sea fishing.