Indian fishermen trawling near Katchatheevu were in for a big surprise today when Sri Lankan navalmen not only allowed them to fish but also offered them soft drinks and sweets. Local fishermen Association leader Emerit said the Lankan navalmen treated Indian fishermen with kindness and chatted with hundreds of them from various places including Ramanathapuram and Jagadapattinam, fishing in the Palk Strait. The navalmen's friendly gesture has come close on the heels of the release of all fishermen from Tamil Nadu, lodged in Lankan prisons. Local fishermen have in the past complained of attacks by the Lankan Navy while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. Sri Lanka has often accused Tamil Nadu fishermen of straying into their territorial waters, while the latter maintain they are only fishing in their traditional areas. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had on Friday last ordered the release of all 98 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody for alleged poaching, a day after India abstained from voting on a US-backed UN resolution censuring Colombo on its human rights record.
Lankan Navy offers soft drinks, sweets to Indian fishermen
Press Trust of India |