12 fishermen injured in Lankan navy attack

Fisherman

Twelve fishermen were on Tuesday injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan naval personnel for fishing in Lankan territorial waters, officials said.

It was a mistake by the fishermen who had gone as far as Iranatheevu, once a camp of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, to net fish there, officials said.

Of the 664 boats, 600 had ventured into several points within Lankan territorial waters, including Iranatheevu, Kundu and Talaimannar, officials said.

According to fishermen, the Lankan navy surrounded their boats, cut the fishing nets of more than ten vessels, and pushed four fishermen into the sea, and asked them to swim to their boat. Later the fishermen were asked to kneel down and were beaten up with lathis by the naval men, they alleged.

The Lankan navy reportedly detained the four fishermen for a while before releasing them, the fishermen said.

The naval men also hurled stones and other missiles including bottles, injuring eight of them but they managed to escape, the fishermen told fisheries department officials.

Officials said the 12 fishermen suffered minor injuries in the attack.

Meanwhile, coast guard officials said they have received a letter from the Sri Lankan Fishermen's Association stating that the Indian fishermen were fishing in Lankan waters and it has affected their livelihood.

The Association also complained that the Indian fishermen were using banned fishing nets, affecting marine ecology. They asked the officials to take action against the fishermen who ventured into their territory.

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