More than 3,500 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were today chased away by the Sri Lankan Navy, which damaged some boats and snapped the fishing nets of around 50 vessels, for allegedly fishing in their territorial waters off the Katchatheevu islet. The fishermen from Mandapam and this island town had ventured into the sea in 680 boats yesterday and were fishing near Katchatheevu when the Lankan Navy personnel came to the spot and asked them to leave, Rameswaram Fishermen Association president P Sesuraja said. The naval personnel also hurled stones at the fishermen and cut the fishing nets of 50 boats, following which all the fishermen returned to the shore this morning, he said, while seeking the Centre's intervention to put an end to the recurring attacks on them. Sesuraja also demanded that a jetty be set up at Kundukal, near Pamban. The attack comes days after Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam met a team of fishermen from this town and assured them that the state government would take up their grievances, including the arrests by the Sri Lankan Navy, with the Centre. On January 7, over 4,000 fishermen from here and Mandapam were chased away by the Sri Lankan Navy which had also snapped the fishing nets of 100 boats for allegedly fishing off Katchatheevu.
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