Fishermen stage protest against Lankan Navy Arrests

Chennai: In a powerful demonstration of solidarity and defiance, fishermen in Pamban, Ramanathapuram district, staged a black flag protest on Thursday against the Sri Lankan Navy’s arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen.

The protest saw around 400 country boats anchored close to the shore, adorned with black flags, as the fishermen abstained from work to voice their outrage.

The protest was sparked by the Sri Lankan Navy’s recent apprehension of 25 Tamil Nadu fishermen and the seizure of four country boats. The arrests took place on Monday, with the Sri Lankan authorities accusing the fishermen of crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) during their fishing activities.

SP Rayappan, President of the Ramanathapuram District Country Boats Fishermen Welfare Association in Pamban, condemned the actions of the Sri Lankan Navy. He highlighted the severe impact on the families of the detained fishermen, who now find themselves without their primary source of income. The protest aimed to draw attention to their plight and urge the Indian government to take immediate action.

Rayappan emphasized the need for bilateral talks between India and Sri Lanka to secure the release of the detained fishermen and their boats. “The aggrieved families of those fishermen detained had no other source of income and authorities of India must hold bilateral talks with Sri Lanka to ensure the release of fishermen along with their four boats soon,” he stated.

The protest brought the local fishing industry to a standstill, with the immobilization of a large fishing fleet highlighting the community’s dependence on this livelihood.

The Indian government has been urged to address this issue promptly and engage in diplomatic discussions with Sri Lankan authorities to prevent further arrests and secure the safe return of the fishermen and their boats.

The recurring nature of these incidents has strained relations between fishing communities in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan maritime authorities, necessitating a long-term solution to protect the livelihoods and rights of fishermen.