Amidst reports of an Indian fisherman being shot dead by Sri Lankan Navy, the latter has specifically denied shooting any Indian fisherman.
Reports surfaced on Indian media which stated that on March 7, a 22-year-old fisherman was killed near Katchatheevu island by the Sri Lankan Navy soldiers.
The 22-year-old man has been identified as Bridgo who belonged from Thangachimadam, a central part of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
The incident took place when the deceased along with 4 other fishermen was fishing in a mechanised boat. While they were fishing, Sri Lankan Navy soldiers reportedly opened unprovoked firing without any verification.
According to a statement by Fisheries department assistant director, Kulanchinathan, Bridgo died on the spot due to a shot that hit him in the neck. Local reports said that another man also sustained injuries in the incident.
The incident triggered protests from the members of the Rameswaram Fishermen Association who staged a demonstration in the area and demanded justice. The family of the deceased refused to take his body and perform the last rites.
Tamil Nadu government announced compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the deceased and Rs. 1 Lakh for another fisherman who was injured in the incident.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy said “The Sri Lankan Navy is resorting to tactics involving greater cruelty and unnecessary use of force in an attempt to scare away our fishermen from exercising their traditional rights. In no circumstances can such unprovoked violence from the Sri Lankan side be tolerated. It is the duty of the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu to protect the interests and above all the life and liberty of our citizens.”
He further added “The resort to such inhuman and barbaric tactics by the Sri Lankan side completely belies all the diplomatic efforts that have been undertaken including the understanding reached in several meetings between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of India, including the recently concluded Joint Working Group meeting at New Delhi and ministerial-level meeting at Colombo in which it was clearly agreed not to use force against bona fide fishermen at sea.”
According to reports, Indian Government is deeply concerned over the killing and has taken up the matter with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
While Srilanka has denied any role in the shooting, Sri Lankan Navy in a press statement reiterates “that there has been no such firing as reported by certain media and press.”
“The patrolling boats are clearly instructed to arrest fishermen poaching inside Sri Lankan territorial waters and are subsequently handed over to the Fisheries authorities for onward legal action,” the statement added.
“However, since there is an allegation of a shooting incident, Sri Lanka Navy is carrying out a comprehensive investigation to find out the veracity of this alleged incident,” it added.
“The Sri Lankan navy has promised a full and thorough investigation,” said sources in the Ministry of external affairs