A fisherman from here drowned after he fell into the sea when Sri Lankan Naval personnel allegedly chased a group of fishermen near Katchatheevu, officials said today. The fishermen were fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka, when the Lankan Navy personnel chased them and allegedly threatened to kill them at gun point around midnight yesterday, fisheries officials said. Munusamy tried to duck in the boat, but lost his balance and fell into the sea and drowned.
His body was retrieved and brought to shore today, they said. Another boat sank as it hit a rock when the driver navigated in panic. However, its occupants were rescued by fellow fishermen. This incident and arrest of 49 fishermen by Sri Lankan navy yesterday triggered tension here and in neighbouring areas with fishermen associations seeking government intervention. Referring to the arrests, local fishermen association president Sesuraj said the Tamil Nadu fishermen were fishing in Mannar sea area for 700 years and there were problems only in the last 30 years. He urged the governments of India and Sri Lanka to find an amicable solution to the issue.